Tag Archives: Persian Gulf

U.S. Navy ships to accompany U.S.-flagged ships in Gulf

Helicopters fly from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt during a resupply mission with the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Gulf of Oman

Helicopters fly from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt during a resupply mission with the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Gulf of Oman

U.S. Navy ships will begin accompanying U.S. commercial ships during their transit through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf to ensure they encounter no interference from Iran, U.S. defense officials said Thursday.

The new policy, which has not yet been announced officially, was adopted in response to what Washington views as provocative Iranian behavior. Earlier this week Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps naval vessels reportedly fired warning shots near a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship and have detained it and its crew.

Iran says it intervened with the Maersk Tigris because the Maersk shipping line owes it money awarded in a lawsuit.

Iranian naval patrol boats also surrounded a U.S. cargo vessel in the strait last Friday before departing without further incident. The Pentagon later said it considered the incident a provocation.

The strait is narrow and partially within Iranian territorial waters. Under an internationally recognized protocol called “innocent passage,” maritime traffic is permitted to pass through the strait without interference, even if ships at times are in Iranian territorial waters, so long as they are not violating strictures against such things as carrying weapons or collecting intelligence.

U.S. defense officials said the decision to begin accompanying U.S. commercial vessels as they transit the strait was based on a recommendation by U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for U.S. military operations in the Middle East.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter was briefed on the decision, one official said, adding that the Obama administration does not want the move to be seen as provocative, given the delicate state of the Iran nuclear agreement. The pact has yet to be finalized and is the subject of intense scrutiny and considerable criticism in Congress.

The officials were not authorized to discuss the decision publicly and spoke anonymously.

At an unrelated Pentagon news conference, Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove was asked about the decision and said he was aware of it. Breedlove, the top U.S. commander of NATO in Europe, said the Navy is well-practiced at protecting freedom of navigation in the Gulf.

“It is a mission they have done in the past,” he said.

The Navy makes a distinction between accompanying ships and escorting them, although the difference appears to be small. The officials said U.S. Navy ships will be present in and near the Strait of Hormuz while U.S. commercial vessels are in transit, but they will not escort them continuously.

The 5th Fleet, which is the naval arm of Central Command, currently has a destroyer, the USS Farragut, in the Gulf, as well as three smaller coastal patrol ships. No additional ships are being dispatched to the region, one official said.

U.S. Navy ships will be in continuous radio contact with the commercial ships and possibly will stay in visual contact during their transit of the strait, the officials said. The U.S. commercial shipping companies will be notified in advance of these new procedures.

One official said the new approach will be reviewed daily, taking into account Iranian behavior.

The circumstances of Iran’s seizure earlier this week of the MV Maersk Tigris remain unclear. A spokesman for the Danish shipper, Michael Storgaard, said the company learned Thursday that an Iranian appeals court had ruled the company must pay $3.6 million for a 10-container cargo delivered a decade ago on behalf of an Iranian company in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. However, the cargo never was collected, according to Storgaard, adding it eventually was disposed of by local authorities.

Storgaard said Copenhagen-based Maersk Line will “do everything we can to resolve this matter” with Iranian authorities.

He added the ship and crew aren’t theirs. MV Maersk Tigris, operated by Rickmers Ship Management in Singapore, was boarded on Tuesday.

Advertisements

Iran seizes U.S. ship, 34 sailors

88

The Iranian Navy has seized a US ship with 34 crew members aboard, for trespassing on Iran‘s waters in the Persian Gulf. An Iranian warship is taking the vessel to the city of Bandar Abbas, Fars and Al Arabiya report.

The Iranian Navy has reportedly seized a US ship with 34 crew members on board, for violating Iran’s waters in the Persian Gulf. An Iranian warship is taking the vessel to the city of Bandar Abbas, Fars and Al Arabiya report.

 

‘Mobile bomb’: Iranian army tests suicide drone in massive drills

A picture made available on December 25, 2014 by Iranian Jamejam newspaper's website (Jamejam online) shows Iranian Army ground forces launching an Iranian made drone during the "Mohammad Rasoul Allah" military drill in the Oman Sea port city of Bandar Jask in southern Iran

A picture made available on December 25, 2014 by Iranian Jamejam newspaper’s website (Jamejam online) shows Iranian Army ground forces launching an Iranian made drone during the “Mohammad Rasoul Allah” military drill in the Oman Sea port city of Bandar Jask in southern Iran

For the first time Iran’s army has tested a suicide drone able to hit aerial and ground targets, as well as ships, said the army’s chief commander of ground forces amid the third day of massive drills at the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

The unmanned aircraft is “a mobile bomb” that can be used for “hitting aerial and ground targets and can carry out an attack when it identifies a suspicious target,” commander Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan told journalists on Saturday.

Local media reports indicated that the drone is called Yasir. It’s a domestically produced combat drone that was unveiled in September.

Yasir is equipped with state-of-art, light cameras for reconnaissance. It can fly for eight hours with a range of 200 kilometers and reach an altitude of 4,500 meters.

The drone was tested as part of a six-day exercise code-named Mohammad Rasoulallah (Mohammad, the Messenger of God) that started on Thursday, involving all branches of Iran’s military.

The second stage of the maneuvers launched in southeast Iran on Friday was led by ground forces and involved the military’s land, air and naval forces.

A picture made available on December 25, 2014 by Iranian Jamejam newspaper’s website (Jamejam online) shows Iranian Army ground forces moving an Iranian made drone during the “Mohammad Rasoul Allah” military drill in the Oman Sea port city of Bandar Jask in southern Iran.

Reports indicated that tanks, F-4 Phantom and Mirage fighter jets, helicopters, missiles and artillery units were deployed in the war games.

The massive drills are part of boosting military capabilities and combat readiness, said Air Force spokesman Brigadier General Hossein Chitforoush.

“In these drills, Iran is putting to the test and drawing on the experience it gained during the eight-year [Iraqi imposed] war,” the top commander told Iranian news television Press TV on Saturday.

The drills mark the first time Iran has organized military maneuvers so far from its coastline, according to the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper. The exercises reportedly cover 2.2 million square kilometers – stretching from the eastern part of the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean, and also include the southeastern provinces of Hormozgan and Sistan-Baluchistan.

 

 

Iran plans large-scale military drill near Strait of Hormuz

6580

Iran is set to hold a wide scale military drill near the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, Iranian state television said on Thursday.

The drill will last a week, starting December 25, and span 850,000 square miles across the entrance to the Persian Gulf. Iranian naval and air forces, ground units, and the Revolutionary Guard will all participate. A fifth of the entire world’s supply of oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

US warship with 550 Marines enters Arabian Gulf

The U.S.S Mesa Verde

The USS Mesa Verde with 550 Marines onboard has entered the Arabian Gulf on Monday for a possible operation in Iraq. It comes after President Obama ruled out sending ground troops to the militant-assaulted country.

The USS Mesa Verde is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, a ship designed to carry an expeditionary force across the sea and deploy landing craft and helicopters.

The ship’s presence in the region “provides the commander-in-chief additional options to protect American citizens and interests in Iraq, should he choose to use them.” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.

“USS Mesa Verde is capable of conducting a variety of quick reaction and crisis response operations. The ship carries a complement of MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.” He said.

Washington already dispatched the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush to the Gulf on Saturday.

A handout picture released by the US Navy shows aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) sailing in the Arabian Sea on June 13, 2014

President Barack Obama said he considered military action to help the Iraqi government deal with the threat of militant offensive which has already claimed large parts of the country in a surprise lightning operation.

But the president said he didn’t intend to send ground troops to Iraq again, two years after pulling out American troops from the country.