Fuel, Cars and Other Goods Transported Safely Thanks to Operation Sentinel’s Warships


A major part of what Navy forces do is related to maritime patrol and making sure that vessels passing through risky areas can complete their missions safely. In addition, the international economy depends a great deal on the goods carried by such vessels, which is why maritime security is a top-level responsibility.

The aptly-names Operation Sentinel ensures ships carrying important goods such as oil, gas, food, and cars can pass through Middle East waters without incidents. The operation is directed by an international staff headquartered in Bahrain, and its activities are overseen by the parent body of the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC). The navies of eight nations are part of the program, including the U.S., UK, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Albania, Estonia, and Lithuania.

Various smaller and larger warships from these navies, as part of the task group, make sure that shipping along the Middle East waters, especially the strategic points of the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab-al-Mandeb, is carried out safely and effectively. Any blockage in this area would have a serious global impact, as the infamous blockage of the Suez Canal in the spring of this year has shown. According to the Royal Navy, that incident cost the global trade more than £6 billion ($8 million) per day.

During Commodore Gordon Ruddock’s stay at the helm of Operation Sentinel over the past months, more than 800 vessels under IMSC flags have successfully passed through this carefully-monitored area, which means that over 200 ships make their way through these waters every month. In addition to the watchful eye of warships such as the Royal Navy’s frigate HMS Montrose, based in Bahrain. Various maritime patrol aircraft and helicopters have also spent more than 3,300 hours in the air, monitoring the activity at sea.

Prior to this, almost 1,000 merchant ships passed through this area during the spring and summer months, successfully transporting four hundred million tons of essential goods. Commodore Ruddock has now handed over the responsibility for Operation Sentinel to Commodore Don Mackinnon, who will make sure that shipping continues safely through the end of the year.