Great Britain

British security guard killed in drone attack on oil tanker named as Adrian Underwood

A British security guard killed after a drone strike on a oil tanker off the coast of Oman has been named.

Adrian Underwood and the Romanian captain of the Mercer Street tanker, who has not yet been named, both died after the Israeli-operated vessel was struck.

The assault on July 29 has led to international condemnation of Iran after the UK, US and Israel pinned the blame on Tehran.

Mr Underwood’s name was first revealed by a newspaper in Fiji, were he was from, and was confirmed by sources in Britain by the BBC.

The former solider in the British Army worked for Ambrey, a firm based in Hereford that specialises in maritime security.

The company told the BBC that Mr Underwood had a distinguished service record while serving in the armed forces.

It comes as the head of British military said that Iran’s reckless behaviour risks triggering a “disastrous” escalation of hostilities in the Middle East.

Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter said Iran made a “big mistake” when it targeted the tanker.

General Carter told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “What we need to be doing, fundamentally, is calling out Iran for its very reckless behaviour.

“They made a big mistake on the attack they did against the Mercer Street vessel last week because, of course, that has very much internationalised the state of play in the Gulf.”

He added: “Ultimately, we have got to restore deterrence because it is behaviour like that which leads to escalation, and that could very easily lead to miscalculation and that would be very disastrous for all the peoples of the Gulf and the international community.”

The Gulf of Oman is near the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of all oil passes.

Fujairah, on the UAE’s eastern coast, is a main port in the region for ships to take on new oil cargo, pick up supplies or trade out crew.

For the past two years, the waters off Fujairah have seen a series of explosions and hijackings.

Gen Carter said the UK will work with allies to decide the best way of providing protection to shipping in the region, but a return to a system of convoys escorted by warships “may not necessarily be the right method”.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK, Romania and Liberia - whose flag the Mercer Street was sailing under - have written to the president of the UN Security Council to raise the issue.

“The Council must respond to Iran’s destabilising actions and lack of respect for international law,” Mr Raab said.

Additional reporting by PA

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