Navy Keeping a Close Eye on the Gulf

OPFOR’s ever-vigilant Navy PAO sent me a link to this NPR story:

Coalition Forces Watch Over Iraq’s Oil Platforms

In the southern waters off Iraq, the patrol ship USS Whirlwind keeps a constant vigil over two offshore oil-transfer platforms that are indispensable to Iraq. Some sailors call them the crown jewels.

The oil platforms bear the scars of a turbulent history: bullet holes and other damage from the Iran-Iraq war and also from the first Gulf War.

U.S. naval personnel work together with Iraqi marines to protect the oil platforms. On the al-Bashrah oil terminal, known as ABOT, the Iraqis live in a large building at one end called the White House, which has sleeping quarters and a mess hall. At the other end of the platform, the Americans live in converted cargo containers, piled three high.

These guys are doing some tough work. There aren’t many stories about all the work the Navy is doing to train the Iraqi Navy, probably because the Bahgdad hotels most reporters file their balcony dispatches from aren’t within eyesight of the coastline. Here’s a bonus link on the USS Ogden “the Navy’s oldest active amphibious ship, is currently serving as the Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) for the multinational maritime coalition operating in the North Persian Gulf., that is also working to train Iraqi sailors and Marines.”

This graf caught me at the end of the piece:

In addition to protecting the terminals from terrorists and suicide bombers, the forces also have their eyes on the Iranian navy, which often intrudes several hundred yards into Iraqi waters.

Captain Pat Roane of the USS Lake Champlain says that coalition forces regularly have to tell the Iranian navy to back off.

Really? Hmmm…

Comments

  1. Andy says:

    Back in the 90's when I was in the Navy, the Iranians constantly ran into Iraqi waters. Conversely, oil smugglers coming out of Iraq would turn left and sail into Iranian waters so we couldn't catch them. The IRGC navy then escorted them south where they made a mad dash over to the UAE. We've been playing cat and mouse with the Iranians in the Gulf since 1991, not only in the Shatt al Arab area, but also around the southern Islands near the strait. Many of those Islands are also claimed by the UAE and the Iranians have made extraordinary claims for their territorial waters.

  2. ajs says:

    I served briefly on a USCG cutter in the NAG in 2003 where part of our mission was to protect MABOT & KABOT, the two oil terminals. We routinely encountered IRGC patrol craft. Their usual MO was to violate the territorial waters, wait until we turned to engage, then break off and head back toward Iranian waters. It was a little like capture the flag, with them racing across the line only to turn back toward safety when spotted.

  3. Citizen Deux says:

    AAOT and KAAOT were unpleasant places for duty. The IBU / and MIUWU guys onboard were living without showers or any amenities. In addition to the regular dhow attacks and light plane warnings, the oil tankers unloading created some of the worst smells imaginable!

    Finally, the IN (Iranian Navy) routinely provoked the PC crews and mounted a set of crew served weapons on a sunken crane not a few miles from the OPLATS! Even though the Shat-al-Arab is "evenly" divided, ROE for that area was very closely controlled.

    I do not miss that spot one bit. Problem is, it's Iraq's only outlet for its oil

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  7. charles casper says:

    i served in the navy during opertaion iraqui freedom and enduring freedom, and on myn second deployment to the gulf we patroled aaot and kaaot for weeks on end. i was statione at assault craft unit one out of san diego and that was the worst time of my life. it was like a ghost town that had been invaded by people who were looking for signs of life. it was the worst experience i ever had but if i had to do it over again, i would, in a heartbeat.

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