[Ed. – It’s not a mitigation of the seriousness of the threat to recognize that multiple nations, including Britain, have had warships operating in this area for more than eight years now. The focus during that time has been on antipiracy. There’s reason for it to now shift somewhat to protecting shipping against weapons supplied by Iran. The missile threat, in particular — and potentially the threat of sea mines — represents a major increase in the level of threat to commercial shipping (as opposed to piracy). But for the moment, the profile of naval protection — the number and type of multinational warships — won’t really change.]
Britain has secretly deployed its most advanced warship off the coast of Yemen to guard a crucial shipping lane from Iranian-backed missile attacks threat, according to The Times.
The warship has been sent to protect the Bab al-Mandeb route following attacks on three U.S. warships and a United Arab Emirates vessel there.
The vast majority of Britain’s oil and gas supplies take this route as their main passage which leads to the Suez Canal; any obstacle would mean the electricity could be cut off across Britain, said Peter Roberts, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, who stressed the importance of keeping the strait open.
The threat of attacks against vessels using the shipping lane is an expansion from the conflict in Yemen where Iran-backed Houthi rebels are attacking Yemeni government forces; supported by a Saudi-led coalition and armed with British weapons.