US sends additional destroyers and fighter jets to protect shipping in Strait of Hormuz Ship’s crew

The United States has announced plans to increase its presence in the Strait of Hormuz in response to attacks and seizures of merchant ships by Iran.

The Department of Defense announced on Monday that it would send the US Navy destroyer. USS Thomas Hudneralong with other fighter jets, including F-35s and F-16s, into the purview of US Central Command (Centcom) to protect the freedom of navigation in the region.

The move comes after Iran has attacked or seized about 20 merchant ships since 2021, according to Centcom.

Earlier this month, the Iranian navy attempted to illegally hijack two merchant ships in the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, according to Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh.

One of the ships, the Marshall Islands flagged oil tanker trf moss, was struck by an Iranian Navy ship on July 5, but the Iranian ship left the country after the arrival of the US Navy’s guided missile destroyer USS McFaul. The Bahamian-flagged oil tanker arrived the same day Richmond Voyager was hit and fired upon by an Iranian naval ship. The Iranian ship left the country when the USS McFaul arrived.

“In one attempt, an Iranian naval vessel fired on the merchant ship,” she said. “In the face of this ongoing threat, and in coordination with our partners and allies, the department is increasing our presence and ability to patrol the strait and surrounding waters.”

Singh called on Iran to halt measures that threaten the free flow of trade across the strategic waterway, which supplies more than a fifth of the world’s oil.

The latest move comes after the defense ministry said in May it would step up its patrols in the Strait of Hormuz and work with regional allies and partners to strengthen its defense position in the Arabian Gulf after Iran “seized unlawful merchant vessels.” The U.S. 5th Fleet is also working to enhance international maritime security cooperation in the region.

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