12:58pm: A BP spokesman said the oil major's top priority was the safety and security of its crews and vessels, adding: "While we are not commenting on these events, we thank the Royal Navy for their support."
BP CEO Bob Dudley, asked about the tensions in the Gulf at an event at London's Chatham House on Wednesday evening, said: "We've got to be super careful about our ships".
The world's most important oil artery links Middle East oil producers with markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond. It is just 21 miles (33km) wide at its narrowest point but the shipping lane is just two miles (three km) wide in either direction.
Shipping tracker data showed the UK-flagged crude oil tanker Pacific Voyager operated by Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd took a similar route to the British Heritage on Wednesday through the Strait of Hormuz. Refinitiv data shows four other UK registered tankers are currently present in the Gulf.
12pm: Three Iranian vessels tried to block the passage of a British ship through the Strait of Hormuz but withdrew after warnings from a British warship, the British government said on Thursday.
Britain urged the Iranian authorities to "de-escalate the situation in the region".
"HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away," a British government spokesman said in a statement.
The oil tanker British Heritage is operated by BP under an Isle of Man flag, according to shipping data.
Earlier, US officials said five boats believed to belong to Iranian Revolutionary Guards approached a British oil tanker in the Gulf on Wednesday and asked it to stop in Iranian waters close by, but withdrew after a British warship warned them.
The incident occurred almost a week after British Royal Marines boarded an Iranian tanker, Grace 1, off Gibraltar and seized it on suspicion that it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria.
Tensions between Iran and the United States and its allies have risen sharply since Washington stepped up economic sanctions against Iran and moved to bring the country's oil exports to zero as part of a "maximum pressure" policy to make Iran halt actions that it said undermined regional security.
Iran has responded to the sanctions by starting to breach limits put on its nuclear activities under a 2015 deal with world powers.
Several oil tankers were attacked in waters near Iran's southern coast in May and June, for which the United States blamed Iran.
Last month, Iran shot down a US drone near the Strait of Hormuz, prompting President Donald Trump to order retaliatory air strikes, only to call them off.
The US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday's incident happened as British Heritage was at the northern entrance of the Strait of Hormuz.
"The Royal Navy HMS Montrose, which was also there, pointed its guns at the boats and warned them over radio, at which point they dispersed," one of the officials said.
"It was harassment and an attempt to interfere with the passage," the other official said.
The United States hopes to enlist allies over the next two weeks or so in a military coalition to safeguard strategic waters off Iran and Yemen, Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Tuesday.