US Troops on Ships Through Hormuz?

Armed US military personnel are being considered to guard commercial ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz. The unprecedented step comes as Iran seized a series of ships in the strait, The Associated Press reported quoting five American officials.

The US expects that putting troops on commercial ships could further deter Iran from seizing vessels — or escalate tensions further. While officials offered few details of the plan, it comes as thousands of Marines and sailors on both the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan and the USS Carter Hall, a landing ship, are on their way to the Gulf.

Those Marines and sailors could provide the backbone for any armed guard mission in the strait, through which 20% of the world’s crude oil passes. The officials stressed no final decision had been made and that discussions continue between US military officials and America’s Gulf Arab allies in the region.

Officials said the Marines and Navy sailors would provide the security only at the request of the ships involved. One official described the process as complex, saying any deployment likely also would require approval of the country under which the ship is flagged and the country under which the owner is registered.

So far, that has yet to happen and it might not for some time, the official said. Earlier yesterday, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the head of the Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet, met with the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The six-nation bloc includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A statement from the GCC about the meeting did say that Cooper and officials discussed “strengthening GCC-US cooperation and working with international and regional partners.”


News of Bahrain
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