The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, General Joseph Dunford, said yesterday he expects a naval coalition to start operating in waters off Iran and Yemen this month.
At a press conference yesterday, Dunford said America was confident allies would sign up to a US-led coalition in the next fortnight to safeguard merchant shipping in the wake of a number of vessel attacks in the Middle East in recent months.
Under the plan, the US will provide command ships and lead surveillance efforts for the military coalition. Allies would patrol waters near those US command ships and escort commercial vessels with their nation’s flags.
“We’re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab Al-Mandab,” Dunford said.
Naval ships from the UK, India and a host of Middle Eastern nations have already been escorting commercial ships through the Strait of Hormuz in recent weeks.