The Cable

Is The U.S. Navy Protecting British Ships From Iran?

U.S. Navy more and more i the business of protecting commercial shipping from Iran

USS Farragut underway in the Arabian Sea.
ARABIAN SEA (Dec. 4, 2012) An MH-60S Sea Hawk from the Eightballers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 flies by the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released) 121204-N-OY799-038 Join the conversation http://www.facebook.com/USNavy http://www.twitter.com/USNavy http://navylive.dodlive.mil

In response to a request from London, the U.S. Navy has agreed to begin accompanying British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz in the wake of Iran’s detention of the Maersk Tigris cargo ship last week, a Defense Department spokesman said Monday.

The Maersk Tigris and its crew continue to be held by Iranian authorities over what Tehran says is a decade-old cargo dispute. But an international law scholar argued in Sunday’s Washington Post that there is “simply no basis” under the laws that govern maritime traffic “for arresting a ship for any debts incurred during prior voyages, and certainly not for those incurred by other ships.”

A U.S. Navy destroyer and three patrol boats have already shadowed several U.S.-flagged ships through the Strait since last Thursday, Army Col. Steve Warren said Monday. And over the weekend, a Navy vessel also accompanied one British ship through the strait, which is one of the most critical chokepoints in the global oil trade.

 

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

Paul McLeary is Foreign Policy’s senior reporter covering the U.S. Defense Department and national security issues. @paulmcleary

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