US President Trump stated on 18 July that there was “an incident in the Strait of Hormuz today involving USS Boxer, a navy amphibious assault ship” saying that the vessel “took defensive action against an Iranian drone which had closed into a very, very near distance…the drone was immediately destroyed.” Iran of course swiftly denied the accusation, with deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi saying on Twitter “We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!”

This is merely the latest in a series of worrying developments around the crucial maritime passage. Iran’s IRGC this week stated they detained a small products tanker, the Riah, on 14 July for allegedly “smuggling” fuel. This was days after a British military vessel allegedly intervened to protect a British flagged tanker from IRGC ships (MEES, 12 July). (CONTINUED - 151 WORDS)