Military Capabilities

Saudi Arabia joins maritime security mission

18 September 2019

US 5 Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Jim Malloy delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the IMSC main planning conference on 16 September. Source: US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Hooper

Saudi Arabia has decided to join the international alliance for the safety and protection of maritime navigation, its Ministry of Defence announced on 18 September.

It said the alliance's aim is to protect merchant ships of participating countries as they pass through maritime corridors - a reference to the straits of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandab - and counter threats to global trade and energy security.

Meanwhile, US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that the main planning conference for what it calls the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) was held on the British landing ship dock RFA Cardigan Bay on 16 September.

It said it was attended by representatives from the four IMSC members - the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Bahrain - and 25 other countries.

"In light of recent threats to international shipping, representatives reaffirmed their nations' continued commitment to safeguarding freedom of navigation in the Arabian [Persian] Gulf, Gulf of Oman, the Red Sea, and the Straits of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandab, and discussed multinational efforts aimed at enhancing maritime security throughout key waterways in the region," CENTCOM said.

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