US Navy mine countermeasures ship Dextrous (MCM 13) sails the Persian Gulf on Dec. 11, 2022. Officials said that Dextrous,an Avenger-class minesweeper, patrolled alongside unnamed vessels from Kuwait and Iraq. US Army photo by Spc. Aaron Troutman.
The minesweeper Dextrous joined warships from Kuwait and Iraq on a short patrol inside the Persian Gulf, according to the US 5th Fleet in Bahrain.
The trio performed maneuvering and maritime security drills in northern waters of the gulf on Sunday, Dec. 11, according to 5th Fleet spokesperson Cmdr. Timothy A. Hawkins.
Like Kuwaiti and Iraqi officials, he followed a long-standing US policy of declining to name the vessels that accompanied Dextrous or to list their classes.
US Navy officials released a blurry aerial photo of the Avenger-class minesweeper steaming with a pair of smaller Iraqi and Kuwaiti patrol craft.
“Partnerships are at the foundation of maritime security and stability in the Middle East,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the US 5th Fleet commander, in a prepared statement. “Our continued collaboration reflects our collective commitment to safeguarding regional waters.”
The Avenger-class US Navy mine countermeasures ship Dextrous, right, sails the Persian Gulf with ships from the Iraqi navy and Kuwaiti coast guard, on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022. US Army photo by Spc. Aaron Troutman.
The Iraqi navy and Kuwaiti coast guard, which operates as a seaborne extension of the national police, conducted a similar journey in the Persian Gulf on Aug. 25 alongside the US Navy’s patrol ship Sirocco and the US Coast Guard fast-response cutter Charles Moulthrope, according to the US 5th Fleet.
The latest patrol comes amid rising regional tensions tied to Iran, which shares the northern stretches of the Persian Gulf with Kuwait and Iraq.
Late in the evening on Dec. 5, the crew of an Iranian gunboat flashed a searchlight across the bridge of the US Navy’s expeditionary sea base platform Lewis B. Puller during a potentially dangerous transit through the Strait of Hormuz alongside the guided-missile destroyer The Sullivans, according to US Central Command.
That potentially deadly incident came only four days after a boarding party from the Lewis B. Puller seized an unflagged fishing trawler sailing the Gulf of Oman loaded with contraband arms bound for Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to the US 5th Fleet.
Iran’s state-run media outlets have remained silent about a US warship’s latest joint patrol with Kuwaiti and Iraqi crews.
Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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