Monday, February 26, 2007
"Britain’s senior naval officer in the Persian Gulf has revealed that Royal Navy deployments in the region have doubled since October in a build-up that matches the rapid escalation of American maritime firepower.
Commodore Keith Winstanley, who serves as deputy commander of coalition maritime operations for US Central Command, has told The Daily Telegraph that British trade and strategic interests dictate the necessity of a high and sustained commitment to patrol the seas around the Middle East. “If you look at the UK component we have almost doubled it,” he said in an interview aboard HMS Sutherland in Mina al-Salman port.
“Most of these ships are here on training missions but there is no doubt that we could use the warfighting capabilities they possess.”
Cdre Winstanley said there was a message for Iran in the expansion of the coalition fleet in the waters of the Persian Gulf, Sea of Oman and Arabian Sea.
More ships on patrol would have strategic effects that went beyond the operational benefits of increased patrols....."