U.S. Marines on Commercial Ships?

From WAPO today:

U.S. moves to put Marines on commercial ships to stop Iranian seizures

The U.S. military is readying plans to embark armed Marines and sailors aboard the commercial ships of interested private companies after a spate of vessel seizures by Iranian forces in the Middle East, officials said Thursday, a remarkable escalation that could put Washington and Tehran in direct confrontation.

The effort has not yet received final approval, but it has buy-in from senior Biden administration officials and could commence as soon as this month, said one official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military planning. Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., have been flown to Bahrain and received related training, with additional personnel due to arrive soon aboard American warships.

“We have a cohort on the ground,” the official said. He added that the “policy decision has pretty much been made.”

A second U.S. official acknowledged the proposal is under discussion at the Pentagon but emphasized that it has not yet been approved.

Asked about the plan, a Pentagon spokesman, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, said Thursday he had no announcements to make.

A spokesman at the White House, John Kirby, directed questions to the Defense Department while noting the Strait of Hormuz, where some of the incidents have occurred, is a “vital seaway.” The United States, he said, has seen threats by Iran to close off this “choke point.” The strait connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, and the open ocean beyond. At least 20 percent of the world’s crude oil is moved through the strategic waterway.

The effort, first reported by the Associated Press, is among a set of muscular actions being pursued by the Biden administration following a purported rise in attempts by Iran to seize commercial tanker ships.

The first official cited July 5 as an inflection point in U.S. discussions on the issue. Iranian forces tried to commandeer two civilian tanker ships that day, firing on and striking one of them, the Richmond Voyager, in its hull, Navy officials said at the time. Iranian forces fled after the arrival of the USS McFaul, a naval destroyer.

The U.S. Navy said July 5 that it had prevented Iranian military vessels from seizing two commercial oil tankers off Oman.

In another recent incident, warships from the United States and Britain answered a June 4 distress call from a merchant vessel transiting the Strait of Hormuz, where three Iranian fast-attack boats had harassed the civilian ship, Navy officials said. In that case, the McFaul and the Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster responded, with the Lancaster launching a helicopter to drive off the Iranian ships.

In May, the oil tanker Niovi was seized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps while in the strait, the Navy said. The civilian vessel had departed Dubai and was traveling to the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates when a dozen fast-attack craft surrounded it. In April, Iran made a similar seizure of the oil tanker Advantage Sweet.

Such harassment is part of a pattern dating back years and now requires an “elevated response,” the first official said.

Other recent steps to deter Iran include the deployment of advanced F-35 jets, along with other fighter aircraft and A-10 attack jets, to the Persian Gulf region. The Pentagon also dispatched an additional Navy destroyer to bolster the presence of American military vessels already in the region.

Iranian officials have criticized the deployments, calling them destabilizing and provocative.

The Marines training for the mission in Bahrain are with the 26th Expeditionary Unit, a naval force that typically deploys aboard Navy warships. Other personnel with the unit are aboard the USS Bataan, USS Carter Hall, and USS Mesa Verde, and could arrive in the Middle East soon. The Bataan and Carter Hall arrived recently in Souda Bay, Greece, for a port visit, the unit said in a Facebook post Thursday.

Karen DeYoung and Alex Horton contributed to this report.

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We’ve had SEALs along for the ride on some of our “conducting hydrographic survey operations in international waters” excursions.

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Here’s another article about manning commercial ships with military:

The Pentagon is considering putting armed troops on commercial ships transiting the Hormuz Strait, a reaction to aggressive Iranian actions in recent months, a U.S. official said.

The official confirmed that U.S. Marines and sailors are preparing to serve as security teams on commercial ships that request protection from Iranian forces. The Associated Press first reported the proposal on Thursday.

If Defense Department leaders approve the proposal, the military would make available teams of about 20 armed Marines and sailors to embark upon commercial vessels as they move near and through the strait. Just how many teams will be deployed depends on how many the shipping industry asks for, the official said.

US may make armed teams available to commercial ships sailing near Iran

Where the hell are 20 extra people going to sleep??

Edit: Well if it’s just for transiting the straits, I guess they wouldn’t be on board that long.

I would imagine that as long as we keep seizing their cargos they will seize ours.

Do flag states allow POB over and above the max allowed per Safety Certificate and
approved LSA capacity while underway? (Even if it is only for a short time (<24 hrs.))

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Not really relevant, deleted my posts.

So we’re going to put US Marines on foreign ships?? I don’t understand.



Possibly US registered or chartered ships only?

Doesn’t look that will be the case, at present.

Many flag states don’t allow arms onboard ships under their register.
(Especially not armed military personnel from a foreign power)

Evidently, a flag state would make its own decision. The article is remarkable for its lack of specific information: “Readying plans” “escalation that could” “proposal” “not yet approved” “no announcement to make”. Just a shade above click bait.

Public military to protect private profits on foreign ships? No way.


That was my thought.

My taxpayer dollars hard at work.

You tax dollars are already being squandered aimlessly. No worries, it’s only paper and the current administration will just print more.

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Gee, do you think "… the erosion of governance” by the MAGA Republican cult members in Congress might have something to do with the economics of this issue? Maybe the threats by an insane wannabe dictator to disassemble the government and pocket the treasury might be a factor?

We haven’t had a real proxy war in months so “send in the Marines” sounds like a good way to ensure another 20 years of grief and defense contractor profits. When do we get our own “Wagner Group”?


You have already had your Wagner groups, Blackwater, Sandline, Executive Solutions. etc. etc. You probably have some shiny new “contractors” operating somwhere
I could be completely wrong and it’s a uniquely Russian thing.


Absolutely. The ones to blame for this developing oil tanker mess are evil MAGA stooges operating from secret Russian bunkers buried under the Capitol. The current president is not an insane wannabe dictator. He is a vibrant, gifted and effective world leader with a clear mind and effective fiscal policies.


When Iran cuts off petroleum shipments from the region and the price of gas goes through the roof…

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