In addition to NATO and US naval deployment to the eastern Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, its been announced that Britain’s Royal Navy will also be sending ships to the Gulf.
Ostensibly to help protect the world’s biggest offshore oil facility, amid fears of a possible terror attack, the Royal Navy will join naval units from Bahraini and Saudi protecting the Ras Tanura oil terminal.
So far crude oil exports are continuing as normal, and industry sources have played down the deployment, describing the move as ‘routine’.
However, the deployment will add to the Western naval presence in the region. The USS Enterprise is due to arrive there any day now along with other ships in the Carrier Strike Group including: destroyer U.S.S. McFaul, the war frigate U.S.S. Nicholas, the battle cruiser U.S.S. Leyte Gulf, the attack submarine U.S.S. Alexandria, and the “fast combat support ship” U.S.N.S. Supply.
A few weeks ago the Eisenhower Strike Group, was also reported to have received orders to deploy to the Persian Gulf, in addition to a flotilla of Canadian Navy vessels reported to have been heading toward the Persian Gulf where they will be joined by Danish, Dutch and Greek warships.
Coalition naval forces are supposed to be helping to guard vital oil installations in top exporter Saudi Arabia as part of heightened security following an alleged al Qaeda threat last month.
But given the mounting tension over Iran’s nuclear program, they are also well placed to apply a veiled threat to Iran should it continue with the enrichment program.
See: Naval build-up in the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean