The US Fifth Fleet has bolstered its mine countermeasures capability with the repositioning of four additional MCMVs to the Arabian Gulf. The ships, USS Sentry, USS Devastator, USS Pioneer and USS Warrior, were transported to Bahrain from San Diego, California aboard the Dockwise semi-submersible MV Tern. The ships will operate alongside coalition mine warfare forces and four other Avenger class MCMVs, which are permanently based at Manama, with crews being rotated every seven months.
The move comes at the request of US Central Command for additional MCM assets in the US Fifth Fleet’s area of responsibility in response to threats from Iran to disrupt shipping movements in the region, most notably at the strategically important choke point at the Strait of Hormuz. The US Fifth Fleet area of responsibility encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of sea and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and the Red Sea.