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.

FEATURE | Gibraltar tanker seizure causes political furore

In the early hours of July 4, an armed party of British Royal Marines. embarked in a helicopter, and a number of RHIBs, boarded the VLCC Grace 1, off the British colony of Gibraltar. The Marines encountered no resistance, and rapidly took charge of the vessel, before handing it over to the custody of an armed team of officers of the Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP).

OPINION | Indonesia–Vietnam maritime clash a sign of rising Indo-Pacific tensions

A ramming incident on April 27 involving a Vietnamese fisheries surveillance vessel and an Indonesian naval vessel near Indonesia’s Natuna Islands highlights the risks of escalation in competition over fisheries in the South China Sea. But it should also be understood in the context of broader strategic dynamics in the Indo-Pacific, where ASEAN unity is being tested and tolerance for "grey zone" maritime operations appears to be lessening.

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