US Navy to escort Gulf tankers

Washington: The United States and its allies are discussing plans to provide naval escorts for oil tankers through the Gulf, a top American general said on Thursday after Iranian military vessels menaced a British tanker.

General Mark Milley, nominated to become the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate hearing that the US has a “crucial role” in enforcing freedom of navigation in the Gulf.

He said the United States was trying to form a coalition “in terms of providing military escort, naval escort to commercial shipping,” he said.

“I think that that will be developing over the next couple weeks.” Milley, currently chief of staff of the army, confirmed less specific remarks by current Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford earlier this week.

Dunford told media that the Pentagon was working to identify possible partners in an effort to protect navigation in the Straits of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandab on either side of the Arabian peninsula where much of the world’s crude oil traffic passes.

— Agencies

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