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The guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill participates in joint training in the Bab el Mandeb Strait, Nov. 20, 2020. The training was connected to the International Maritime Security Construct, which announced a ninth member March 26, 2022.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill participates in joint training in the Bab el Mandeb Strait, Nov. 20, 2020. The training was connected to the International Maritime Security Construct, which announced a ninth member March 26, 2022. (Louis Staats/U.S. Navy)

Personnel from the Romanian navy will soon join U.S. sailors at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. 

Romania is the ninth country to join a maritime coalition formed to prevent attacks on commercial shipping in the Middle East, a statement by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said Saturday. 

Romanian navy personnel will serve at the headquarters of the International Maritime Security Construct, which is based in Bahrain with U.S. 5th Fleet, the statement said. 

“We are excited to welcome Romania to the team,” Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, said in the statement. 

The International Maritime Security Construct, founded in 2019, includes Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as non-Middle Eastern countries such as Albania, Estonia, Lithuania, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

The organization’s operational arm, Coalition Task Force Sentinel, recently participated in U.S.-led training exercises in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and the northern Indian Ocean. 

This unit was founded to “deter state-sponsored malign activity and reassure the merchant shipping industry in the Bab al-Mandeb and Strait of Hormuz,” the statement said. 

Several transport ships were attacked in the region in 2021, including the hijacking of an asphalt tanker in the Gulf of Oman in August. 

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J.P. Lawrence reports on the U.S. military in Afghanistan and the Middle East. He served in the U.S. Army from 2008 to 2017. He graduated from Columbia Journalism School and Bard College and is a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines.
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