May 2, 2015

US Navy ships escorting U.S.-flagged merchants in strait

Navy ships in the Persian Gulf are accompanying U.S.-flagged merchant vessels through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran's recent seizure of one cargo ship and its harassment of another in international waters, a defense official has confirmed to Navy Times.
A dozen ships are operating in the area and capable of providing support, the official said on Thursday. U.S. warships frequently transit the strait, but it is more unusual for the U.S. to routinely convoy U.S.-flagged merchants through.
The warships include ships with the Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group, which entered 5th Fleet three weeks ago and spent several days in the waters off Yemen, a show of force that compelled Iranian ships to turn around.
The move, first reported by Defense One, comes as tensions rise in the region, with news that Iranian navy ships harassed one U.S.-flagged shipping vessel in international waters and later boarded a Marshall Islands cargo ship, a country under U.S. protection.

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