FEATURE | Joint US-UK escort for ships transiting Strait of Hormuz

Washington’s efforts to form up a multi-national naval task force to escort vessels through the Strait of Hormuz have, so far, proved fruitless. On August 5, though, it was announced that a joint US Navy–UK Royal Navy (RN) patrol force has been established, in order to safeguard international shipping, in and around the strait, against interference from Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) craft.

FEATURE | Tanker seizure highlights maritime security complexities

On July 19, Iranian forces conducted a professionally-executed operation to seize the Swedish-owned, UK-flagged, tanker Stena Impero, while it was underway in Omani waters. The ship was then directed to Iranian waters, where it remains at anchor. It seems certain that the seizure was carried out in retaliation for the boarding and detention, in Gibraltar waters on July 4 of the VLCC Grace 1, which is reportedly carrying Iranian crude oil destined for Syria.

Asymmetrical maritime warfare rages off Yemen

Action off the coast of Yemen very recently provided a demonstration of contemporary asymmetrical warfare, which was red in tooth and claw.

On January 30, 2017, a Royal Saudi Navy (RSN) frigate of the French-built modified La Fayette-type (identified by some local media sources as the Al Madinah), was carrying out a security patrol in the Bab al-Mandab Strait in support of Arab-African Coalition action against the Houthi rebels who are fighting the Yemen government, was struck on the port quarter by an explosive-laden small fast suicide attack boat. The boat which carried out the successful attack was one of three such Houthi rebel vessels deployed on the mission.

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