P&O cancels Dubai cruises over rising Iran tensions and attacks on tankers

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
P&O has stopped its Dubai cruises due to tensions in Iran (Getty)

P&O has announced a cancellation on all of its winter 2019/20 cruises to Dubai due to rising tensions in Iran.

The company said it had been closely monitoring the situation in the Strait of Hormuz following recent seizures of British tankers in the vicinity.

President Paul Ludlow said: “The increased tension in the region, highlighted by the attacks on tankers in the straits and the detention of a British-flagged tanker by the Iranian authorities, means as a British company flying the Red Ensign, it is not advisable for us to maintain our planned Dubai and Arabian Gulf programme this winter season.

The Strait of Hormuz has seen rising tensions between Iran and the West recently (AP)

“We have therefore taken the unusual step of withdrawing Oceana from the region for the upcoming season.

“While we appreciate guests will be disappointed, the safety of our guests and crew is absolutely paramount and given our UK status, coupled with the uncertainty in the region, we have had to make this difficult decision.”

P&O added that customers who have already made bookings will be issued a full refund.

Read more from Yahoo News UK:

Poll shows Boris Johnson more popular with men voters

Four dead and two injured after two-hour rampage by man 'full of anger'

Scientists believe there may be life on the Moon

The move comes as Britain announced it would join a US-led maritime security mission protecting international shipping in the Gulf.

The Royal Navy will work with the US Navy in accompanying merchant shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, according to the Ministry of Defence.

Previous foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt had said the UK was seeking to form a European-led mission to safeguard shipping in the region.

Damage and a suspected mine on the Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman near the coast of Iran in June (AP)

He said while it would be "complementary" to US efforts, it would remain distinct from the American policy of exerting "maximum pressure" on Tehran following President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the international Iran nuclear deal.

British officials still hope it will be possible to put together a wider mission which will "transition" to a European-led operation.

The Ministry of Defence said that for now the mission would largely draw on existing assets in the region including Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan and Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose.

A US Marine observes an Iranian fast attack craft from USS John P. Murtha during a Strait of Hormuz transit (AP)

The US, which has been building up forces in the region, has also committed two warships specifically to the mission as well as aerial surveillance.

Since it began escorting UK-flagged vessels last month, the Royal Navy has conducted 47 "group accompaniments" through the Strait of Hormuz.

Tensions in the region have been rising in the wake of the Trump administration's decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran following its abandonment of the nuclear deal.

---Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK---