Vessels sailing under the protection of an armed escort. Since the 17th century, neutral powers have claimed the right of convoy in wartime, providing warships to escort their merchantmen and keep them secure from search or seizure. In World War I the British organized transatlantic convoys protected by a cordon of warships; the same system protected Allied shipping from German submarines during the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II. During the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88), oil tankers transiting the Strait of Hormuz into and out of the Persian Gulf were escorted by warships of the U.S. and other Western navies.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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