Briton killed in strike on oil tanker identified as veteran and father

Pictured: British Army veteran killed in Iranian drone strike on oil tanker near Oman as head of the armed forces says Tehran made a ‘big mistake’

  • Adrian Underwood identified as Briton killed on board oil tanker Mercer Street 
  • A veteran, Mr Underwood was working for security firm Ambrey when he died 
  • He was killed alongside a Romanian in a drone attack the UK has blamed on Iran 
  • UK, Romania and Liberia sent joint letter to the UN condemning ‘clear violation of international law’ while Britain has vowed ‘consequences’ for Tehran 

A British man killed on board an oil tanker hit with an explosive drone near the coast of Oman has been identified as a father and army veteran. 

Adrian Underwood, who was born in Fiji before moving to the UK, was working as a security officer on board Liberian-flagged tanker Mercer Street when it was attacked off the coast of Oman last week.

Mr Underwood, who served in the British army in the early 2000s, was killed alongside a Romanian man in an attack that both the UK and Romania blame on Iran. 

General Sir Nick Carter, head of armed forces, warned today that Tehran made a ‘big mistake’ in attacking the tanker as the UK, US, Israel and allies plot a joint response.

Adrian Underwood, a Fijian-born British army veteran, has been identified as the security officer killed when an explosive drone hit an oil tanker off the coast of Oman last week

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he added: ‘What we need to be doing, fundamentally, is calling out Iran for its very reckless behaviour.

‘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.’ 

Family and friends of Mr Underwood, who are spread between the UK and Fiji, have begun raising funds for his funeral via a JustGiving page.

Writing on the page, friend Mark Wilson wrote: ‘In memory of Adrian Underwood, who sadly died when the ship that he was protecting was attacked. 

‘A humble gentleman, funny and loved by so many. 

‘Our love, thoughts and blessings go to his wife Kiasia, young son Zac and his family and friends and of course the Fijian brotherhood. God bless Adrian.’

Mr Underwood’s family have a history on military service in his native country, the Fiji Sun reported, identifying him as the son-in-law of a Colonel Sakiusa Raivoce.

A close relative of Mr Underwood said the tanker attack is still being investigated and refused to comment further until the probe is complete.

Tehran has denied involvement in Thursday’s attack on the ship – which is Japanese-owned but managed by Zodiac Maritime, a firm owned by an Israeli billionaire. 

The attack comes amid a shadow war being fought between Iran and its proxy group, and regional rivals Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Attacks have been ongoing since at least 2019, with tankers linked to Saudi and Israel struck by mines and other explosives.

Saudi’s largest oil refinery was also blown up in a bold strike using drones and missiles.

An American drone was even shot down by Tehran’s forces, bringing the two sides close to all-out conflict.  

In recent months, a number of vessels with links to Israel have been hit with Iran suspected to be behind the attacks.

The Mercer Street was given a US Navy escort following the attack, and has now reached port in the UAE – arriving early on Tuesday. 

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said his government is ‘working on enlisting the world’ in response to the attack but warned ‘we also know how to act alone.’

‘The Iranians need to understand that it is impossible to sit peacefully in Tehran and from there ignite the entire Middle East. That is over,’ he said.  

The Mercer Street is now docked in the UAE (pictured) having been escorted there by US warships so it can be repaired

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken predicted a ‘collective response’ to the incident, which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as an ‘outrageous attack on commercial shipping’.

Britain summoned the Iranian ambassador and demanded that vessels navigate freely in the oil-rich region.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, meanwhile, said that Israel ‘must stop such baseless accusations’ and called on the US and Britain to provide evidence to support their claims.

Iran ‘will not hesitate to protect its security and national interests, and will immediately and decisively respond to any possible adventurism,’ Khatibzadeh said.

Iran said on Monday it would respond promptly to any threat against its security.

Iran and Israel have exchanged accusations of carrying out attacks on each other’s vessels in recent months.

Tensions have increased between Iran and Israel since 2018, when then U.S. President Donald Trump ditched Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

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