US is getting ready to deploy Marines on commercial ships in the Gulf to deter Iran from seizing ships, a US official said on Thursday.
“We are planning to use security details comprising both Marines and Navy sailors on commercial tankers that pass through or near the Strait of Hormuz to add an extra layer of protection for these vulnerable ships,” the official told AFP anonymously.
An invitation is necessary because the ships are private, but “we are preparing to proceed if final agreements are in place,” the official said.
The United States is increasing its forces in the region, with plans to deploy a destroyer, F-35 and F-16 warplanes, and an Amphibious Readiness Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit with around 3,000 personnel.
According to the US military, Iran has either seized or attempted to seize almost 20 internationally flagged ships in the region in the past two years.
Washington stated that its forces foiled two attempts by Iran to seize commercial tankers in international waters off Oman on July 5, while Tehran took control of a commercial ship the next day.
Escalating Incidents and Heightening Tensions in the Gulf Region
In April and May, Iran seized two tankers, and in November 2022, faced accusations of a drone attack.
Since 2018, incidents increased after then-US president Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, escalating tensions.
As the United States takes these precautionary measures in the Gulf region, the situation remains complex with ongoing developments.. The deployment of Marines on commercial ships is a strategy aimed at securing shipping lanes and deterring threats. With a multifaceted approach, the U.S. seeks to maintain stability and protect global maritime trade.