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Navy Ends Accompaniment of U.S., British Vessels

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, May 06, 2015 — With no further incidents following actions by Iran that led to Navy ships accompanying U.S.- and British-flagged commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz since May 1, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command ceased the mission, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters here today.

The Navy ships accompanied the U.S. and British ships following two incidents less than a week apart late last month when Iranian navy patrol vessels harassed commercial ships in the strait.

While the Navy ships remain in the strait, crews are providing maritime security operations, Warren said today, adding that the adjustment is relatively minor.

“The Navcent commander adjusts the mission based on his view of the conditions,” he added.

Iranian Aggression in Strait

On April 24, four Iranian navy patrol boats approached the U.S.-flagged merchant ship Maersk Kensington, Warren said in an April 29, briefing. “The boats came astern of the Kensington and followed her for 15 or 20 minutes in actions that the Kensington’s master interpreted as aggressive,” he said in that briefing.

There was no U.S. military involvement at the time, he said.

Then on April 28, Iranian patrol vessels approached the M/V Maersk Tigris, a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel in Iranian territorial waters that have internationally recognized commercial shipping lanes, officials said. The Tigris remains at anchor off the coast of Iran near Larak Island, Warren said today.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a sovereign nation for which the United States has full authority and responsibility for security and defense under the 2004 terms of an amended security compact between the two nations. The United States and the Marshall Islands have full diplomatic relations, and the security compact between the two nations includes matters related to vessels flying the Marshallese flag.

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)