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Marines Provide Embarked Security for Strait of Hormuz Transit

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By The Maritime Executive 2019-11-01 19:33:38

Marines and sailors from U.S. Central Command's Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FASTCENT) recently provided the MSC-chartered roro Liberty with an on-board security presence during a transit of the Strait of Hormuz, a regional flash point for tensions between Iran and the United States. 

A FASTCENT unit boarded the U.S.-flagged Liberty on October 21. On October 24, after the transit, a U.S. Navy Seahawk helicopter lifted them off the ro/ro's deck. 

According to the Navy, marines with FASTCENT have a history of deterring, detecting, mitigating, and defending naval and national assets against terrorism since the unit's activation in 1986.

"A strong U.S. presence in the Gulf region is both a deterrent to any potential adversaries who may have an interest in disrupting the maritime domain or using the seas for nefarious purposes, as well as a force to reassure allies, and partners of the United States' commitment to ensuring the free flow of commerce throughout the region," said Brigadier Gen. Matthew Trollinger, Commander of Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

The U.S. Navy is part of an allied effort to secure the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman for all traffic, and as always it provides additional security assurance for American shipping.

"The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps has and will continue to protect U.S. forces and interests in the region. This includes routine escorting and embarking on U.S. flagged vessels," said Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet. "We are not seeking conflict, but we will be prepared to defend ourselves and respond to attacks on U.S. forces and our interests."

The Liberty is a Japanese-built, U.S.-flagged ro/ro operated by American Roll-On Roll-Off Carriers. In 2017, she was purchased from Wilhelmsen and flagged into the United States for Maritime Security Program (MSP) service. As of Monday, she was exiting the Gulf of Oman once more, eastbound and headed for Singapore.