New Coalition In Gulf May Not Fare As Well As Old One – Analysis

Persian Gulf/SoH

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Operational Sentinel patrols the Strait of Hormuz, yet regional rivalries and the international coalition’s makeup could escalate tensions.

By Gregory Clough and Morgan D. Bazilian*

Renewed conflict in the Strait of Hormuz pushed the United States to establish an international coalition for maritime security to ensure safe passage of shipping traffic and guarding against further disruption in oil supplies. While such security coalitions have been successful in the past, applying the same approach in the Middle East may not improve conditions and may even exacerbate tensions.

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Source: eurasiareview.com

Royal Navy guardians protect 7m tonnes of shipping in Gulf

Over seven million tonnes of British shipping – the equivalent of around 20 wartime convoys – have been guided safely through the Strait of Hormuz by the Royal Navy.

HMS Montrose, her sister frigate HMS Kent and destroyers HM Ships Duncan and Defender – have accompanied British flagged and registered merchant ships in and out of the Gulf amid tensions with Iran.

Grateful seafarers have labelled the Royal Navy vessels ‘guardians of the Gulf’ for their efforts providing protection in the narrow waters separating Iran on the north shore and Oman and the UAE since the beginning of July.

The warships, plus their helicopters, have been used to accompany and watch over merchant shipping to ensure they can pass into and out of the Gulf safely, keeping international trade – especially oil and natural gas – flowing in the face of threats.

Most recently HMS Kent has borne the burden of patrols, spending three weeks in the strait, providing safe passage for in excess of 800,000 tonnes of shipping.

“We are a close-knit team and I am extremely proud of what my sailors have achieved over the last few months,” said Commander Andrew Brown, HMS Kent’s Commanding Officer.

The ship uses her Wildcat helicopter to scour hundreds of square miles of the Gulf for any signs of danger – merchant shipping needs accompanying through an area twice the size of Wales.

“Controlling our helicopter in such a busy area of the world can at times be extremely stressful,” said Leading Aircraft Controller Lewis Jackson. “The constant training we receive enables us to do our job in a calm and safe manner and at an extremely professional level.”

Beyond the physical and mental challenges of the escort mission, the 200-plus sailors and Royal Marines aboard the warships are still contending with demanding temperatures – in the high 30s Celsius by day – even at the end of September.

HMS Duncan, which returned to Portsmouth at the weekend, made 29 runs through the Strait, watching over 1,287,209 tonnes of merchant shipping.

Commander Tom Trent said his ship’s company found the mission challenging but also “very rewarding. We had emails from the ships we helped thanking us for getting them through safely.

“Protecting shipping is what the Royal Navy has done for hundreds of years. The whole operation is a reminder of how critical the Royal Navy is.”

Operations in the Strait of Hormuz to protect British shipping continues on a daily basis.

Source: royalnavy.mod.uk

US eyes 55-ship surveillance mission off Iran in Nov.: source

Persian Gulf/SoH

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) — U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is planning to form an international maritime surveillance mission involving 55 vessels in a key waterway off Iran in November, a source familiar with the plan said Thursday.

The plan came to light amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran following recent attacks on major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, an incident Washington has blamed on Tehran.

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Source: mainichi.jp

Saudi Arabia joins maritime protection mission: state news agency

Persian Gulf/SoH

CAIRO (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has joined an international maritime mission to protect commercial shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and other areas, Saudi state media reported on Wednesday, citing an official source in the defense ministry.

The ​​operation area for the International Maritime Security Construct covers the Strait of Hormuz, Bab al-Mandab, the Sea of ​​Oman and the Arabian Gulf, the report said.

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Source: reuters.com

Iran seizes vessel in Gulf for allegedly smuggling diesel – reports

Reports come amid raised tensions after weekend attack on major Saudi oil installation

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have seized a vessel in the Gulf for allegedly smuggling 250,000 litres of diesel fuel to the United Arab Emirates, Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA has reported.

“It was detained near Iran’s Greater Tunb island in the Persian Gulf … the crew have been handed over to legal authorities in the southern Hormozgan province,” ISNA said on Monday, without elaborating on the nationalities of the crewmen.

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Source: theguardian.com

China might escort ships in Gulf under U.S. proposal – envoy

Persian Gulf/SoH

By Alexander Cornwell

DUBAI (Reuters) – China might escort Chinese commercial vessels in Gulf waters under a U.S. proposal for a maritime coalition to secure oil shipping lanes following attacks on tankers, its envoy to the United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday.

“If there happens to be a very unsafe situation we will consider having our navy escort our commercial vessels,” Ambassador Ni Jian told Reuters in Abu Dhabi.

“We are studying the U.S. proposal on Gulf escort arrangements,” China’s embassy later said in a text message.

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Source: euronews.com

UK to join US-led taskforce in Gulf to protect merchant ships

Persian Gulf/SoH

The Royal Navy will join a US-led taskforce to protect merchant ships travelling in the Gulf.

The move comes amid growing tensions between the two western powers and Iran over the shipping route in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iranian forces seized British-flagged vessel Stena Impero last month, while the US has tightened sanctions on Iran.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the new maritime taskforce would give “reassurance for shipping”.

But it goes against plans laid out by his predecessor, Jeremy Hunt, for a European-led mission in the area.

The UK government confirmed last month that it would provide a Royal Navy escort, from warships HMS Duncan and HMS Montrose, for British-flagged ships passing through the strait.

The Ministry of Defence said the new mission would involve the same warships.

The US has also committed two warships to the mission, as well as aerial surveillance.

Washington has re-imposed – and latterly tightened – its own sanctions on Iran, after withdrawing from a 2015 deal to limit the country’s nuclear activities.

The UK and other European countries remain committed to the plan, but diplomatic tensions have been strained in recent months – increasing after the seizure of the Stena Impero.

Mr Raab said the UK’s decision to join the US-led mission did not change its commitment to the nuclear deal and that the government was working to “de-escalate the situation” in the Gulf.

Announcing the new mission, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK was “determined to ensure shipping is protected from unlawful threats”.

He added: “Upholding international maritime law and freedom of passage is in all our interests.

“We are seeing, across our seas and oceans, too many incidents that seek to challenge such freedoms.”

Source: bbc.co.uk