The Government have stated that they have no plans to send Royal Marines to protect British commercial vessels in the Middle East.

Attacks on tankers near the Strait of Hormuz have ratcheted up tensions in the Gulf in recent weeks.

Nia Griffith, the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, asked in a Parliamentary written question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether her Department plans to send a Royal Marines task group to the (a) Persian Gulf and (b) the Strait of Hormuz to protect British commercial vessels.”

Mark Lancaster, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, said:

“We have a permanent presence in the Gulf in support of the strong bilateral relations across the region and the UK National Strategy for Maritime Security. We have no plans to send a Royal Marines task group but will continue with the existing exercise programme and deployment of Short Term Training Teams.”

The United States has said it will deploy 1,000 more troops to the region, in addition to the 1,500 it had announced in late May.

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They will need trade training to prepare them for civilian life…


Lee wrote:
“They will need trade training to prepare them for civilian life…

Thats called resettlement and those who serve do that at the end of their time. Like I did after my 22. Of course there are those who prepare for leaving before the end of their time


Well what are we to make of the press release 5 days ago which said 100 royal marines are going to the gulf ?


God-damn fake noos!


Pretty sure they already announced that the marines were sent there as part of a training exercise planned months ago

James Harrington

I saw that too. So what does she mean?


Thought last announcement was about added protection for RN ships rather than enhanced protection for merchant ships… Although articles were open to interpretation.


Bigger cincern if things went uo woukd be getting forces out of Afghanistan….


Tracked it down. Were sending 30 and it is a normal rotation. Daily Mail So going by the size of our armed forces. Yes a task force lol


My understanding was that there would be a helicopter-mobile force which would hop between ships as they were threatened or passed between certain choke/danger points. To me, a totally sensible and reasonable measure considering the dangers. I don’t suppose they even need to announce it really, it should be a given


Hmmmmm! No, it’s fake news, if the situation worsens NATO will have to show its hand. A direct threat to the World’s oil can result in one plan of action and that is naval escorts.


I’m not sure if it was Iran attacking those ships in the straights, I’m thinking USA special forces to provoke Iran. Or maybe it was just Iranians…

Ps. I hate seeing RN destroyers without Anti ship missiles!

Nigel Collins

It’s a start.
Would it not make more sense to partner with Kongsberg and develop the Perseus Missile with them instead of France, and in the interim period use their Naval Strike Missile?
“UK MoD Issues Notice For Interim SSGW Anti-Ship Missiles”

James Harrington

But didn’t Montrose (now at Jaffair) retain her anti ship capability after her massive refit, the launch tubes are still visible but empty? I see she still has GK CIWS and now sea captor, hopefully with a full load available.

Daniele Mandelli

A T23 with CIWS???


HMS Montrose is fully tooled up. She has a full complement of “Woosh!” and “Bang!” for all of her armaments be that Surface to Surface, Anti Air, Anti Sub and Force Protection. However she and all other T23s have never had any form of CIWS ever.

Daniele Mandelli

As I thought.


A common misconception sadly spread by the press, the assuming and some defence publications/journals.

Daniele Mandelli

This should be tailor made for 42 Commando.

Why shouldn’t we take steps to protect shipping.

I don’t see the need for any government denials apart from not wishing to escalate further.

andy reeves

in these days the term ‘overs treach is oft used the u.k should heed this before any ill advised adventures in that part of the world.


I suspect the concern is that we don’t have enough marines /ships to create a credible force in the region and if we don’t deploy enough assets, then there is a serious risk they will get captured and used as a PR stunt by Iran.

The artist formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

But nay current strength approx 7000 Royal Marines , we are one of only a handful of nations with the capability and ships to conduct serious amphibious ops , the 2 Albion class, 3 bays , and now with the 2 carriers coming online it’s a powerful force that we can potentially deploy. However as ever always issues, the excellent article on this very platform 22nd March 2018 -comparing U.K. amphibious capability with nato allies worth a read.

The question is how many of the 7000 are actually deployable right now and how many are covering other standing roles. Then there is ships, yes we have an Albion (2nd is mothballed) but need way more as a lot of ocean to cover. Would need multiple platforms to do anything vaguely useful. This is the problem with asymmetrical warfare, you can’t just congregate assets in a single location like you used to be able to in traditional warfare.

All we could do would be to have a token presence and that would only escalate matters further.

Daniele Mandelli

For an amphibious op we can routinely deploy 1 Commando Group. That is a single Commando with bits of 3 Commando Brigade attached. 42 Commando the Maritime Ops Commando will also have elements on ships, and of course the SBS. In war of course the gloves are off, but a complete Commando Brigade is not going to be deployed in an amphibious operation. I think the last time it did was in Helmand on dry land and it was heavily augmented by army units. You’re correct the corps of some 7000 RM is spread amongst a whole host of organisations,… Read more »

The artist formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

I dunno man think you are downplaying our ability ,I believe we can more or less deploy a brigade between 40 42 45 commando Which is is not really token , name another country other than US that can? TheRN have learnt lessons of mothballing the Albion’s that it costs a lot to reactivate so the 2nd ship is in a far more deployable state and much quicker to reactivate than before. Most importantly we have experience and have actually conducted amphibious warfare demonstrated in Falklands with 2 far less capable LPD’s intrepid and fearless. So we can pack a… Read more »

We aren’t comparing like for like here. If it was a land warfare like Iraq/Afgan, then raw number of soldiers mean way more than anything else, but here we are talking effectively counter piracy warfare. There are thousands of ships going through the area and it is a big area, any one of them is a potential target. Having a single frigate in the area and/or an albion would not be enough to spread of capability. To do anything vaguely effective we would need to move dozens of ships into the region to host the marines and that is just… Read more »


We could position marines on the cargo ships themselves but then they would rapidly come too spread out and at risk

The artist formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

Yeah I’m not overly disagreeing with anything you’ve said , just pointing out we are not really all that bad at operating at sea whether war or counter piracy as ever it’s a test of political will more than anything

I feel a decision needs to be made sooner or later to start working a way of having both top end ships for something like the falklands and lower end ships that are effectively mother ships for marines/helicopters. This needs to be done somehow without requiring more sailors which i think can only be done by splitting crews from platforms. The challenge is the military are no doubt scared politics will come into play and their cheaper assets will be span as replacements rather than supplements for the main assets. It is also a change in how the navy thinks.… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

“and lower end ships that are effectively mother ships for marines/helicopters.”

The LSS.


Partially yes, but based on the news story they are still thinking big and expansive, making numbers a problem.


It would be great training for the royal marines in an active area.

The Snowman

Just what I was thinking. “There has been a change to the training program this week. We are no longer doing beach assaults, we are doing anti-frogman ops in port”. Could put also section with a merlin on Montrose or the Bay. I wonder if a section of SBS has found its way in to that 100 deployed for exercise?


I note the comments below regarding having an LPD asset in the Gulf for RM to use… Why?
There is already a capable unit in theater that can house RM manpower, Helos, ORCs, LCU and LCVPs.

Reg Vernon

I’m pretty certain that the MOD has lots of plans. They just don’t like to tell the world in advance.