U.S. freedom of navigation operations in 2013 targeted China, Iran

marinelink.com
Thursday, March 06, 2014

The U.S. military carried out freedom of navigation operations challenging the maritime claims of China, Iran and 10 other countries last year, asserting its transit rights in defiance of efforts to restrict passage, a Pentagon report said on Thursday.

The Defense Department's annual Freedom of Navigation Report to Congress for the 2013 fiscal year showed the U.S. military targeted not only countries such as Iran, with whom it has no formal relations, but treaty allies such as the Philippines, too.

The U.S. military conducted multiple operations targeting China over what Washington believes are "excessive" claims about its maritime boundaries and its effort to force foreign warships to obtain permission before peacefully transiting its territorial seas.

U.S. operations challenging Iran were aimed at rejecting Tehran's effort to restrict the Strait of Hormuz to ships from nations that have signed the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, an accord the United States has not formally adopted.

The report covers activity in the 2013 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, before the latest tensions over a near mishap between U.S. and Chinese warships in the South China Sea and Beijing's declaration of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea, which Washington rejected.

The United States carries out freedom of navigation operations by sending Navy ships into disputed areas in an effort to show that the international community has not accepted claims made by one or more countries.

The operations, which began in 1979, are coordinated by the State and Defense departments and are meant to be consistent with the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention, even though Washington has not formally adopted the agreement.

"The United States will not ... acquiesce in unilateral acts of other states designed to restrict the rights and freedoms of the international community in navigation and overflight," the Pentagon said in a 1992 Freedom of Navigation report by then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney.

U.S. operations in the 2013 fiscal year also challenged claims by Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Taiwan and Vietnam. All countries but Cambodia were targeted more than once.

Since 1991, the United States has conducted more than 300 freedom of navigation operations challenging maritime claims by 53 different countries worldwide, from Albania, Ecuador and Denmark to Pakistan and Yemen.

Iran and the Philippines have been challenged most frequently. Iran has appeared on 19 of the 21 lists submitted to Congress since 1991, while the Philippines has appeared on 18. Cambodia, the Maldives, India and Oman also frequently appear.

China has been on the list 11 times, the same as Indonesia and one less than Burma.

The most frequent U.S. complaint is with countries that measure the start of their territorial waters by drawing a straight line between two points on the coast or along offshore islands, thereby enclosing a vast expanse of sea.

Washington disagrees with the Philippines' designation of the seas bounded by the island chain as internal waters and therefore off limits to foreign ships or overflight by foreign aircraft.

The United States targets about a dozen countries per year for challenge, with the high ranging to 27 countries in 1998 and dropping into the low single digits at the height of the U.S. war in Iraq.

 

By David Alexander, Reuters

 

Maritime Reporter March 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Energy

SAL Heavy Lift Performs Offshore Windfarm Work

MV Lone proves as project platform for Wikinger wind farm   SAL Heavy Lift informs it has completed the second phase of the Wikinger Pile Testing Campaign with DP II Class vessel MV Lone.

Huge Heavy Lift Project Wraps up in Colombia

Mammoet concludes multi-year heavy lifting and transport project for refinery in Cartagena, Colombia   Mammoet USA informs it has completed a heavy lifting and

ABB, Samsung SDI JV to Develop Microgrids Globally

ABB and Samsung SDI have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote microgrid solutions globally. The two companies will establish a global commercial alliance

Maritime Security

US Will Work to Ensure Bab-el-Mandeb Strait Remains Open

The U.S. military will work with Gulf and European partners to ensure the strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait at the tip of the Red Sea remains open to commerce despite fighting and instability in Yemen,

17 Countries for Maritime Security Training in Indonesia

Representatives from 17 countries would take part in the sixth Maritime Security Desktop Exercise that is scheduled to be held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from March 30 to April 1.

Japan's Navy Unveils De-Facto Aircraft Carrier

Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) took delivery of its biggest warship Izumo, since World War II, a vessel that observers say is a "de-facto aircraft carrier".

Eye on the Navy

17 Countries for Maritime Security Training in Indonesia

Representatives from 17 countries would take part in the sixth Maritime Security Desktop Exercise that is scheduled to be held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from March 30 to April 1.

Japan's Navy Unveils De-Facto Aircraft Carrier

Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) took delivery of its biggest warship Izumo, since World War II, a vessel that observers say is a "de-facto aircraft carrier".

Thailand Eyes Submarine Fleet

Royal Thai Navy (RTN)'s plan to buy submarines is on again with strong backing from Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon who wants Thailand’s fleet to be on par with neighbouring countries.

Government Update

US Will Work to Ensure Bab-el-Mandeb Strait Remains Open

The U.S. military will work with Gulf and European partners to ensure the strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait at the tip of the Red Sea remains open to commerce despite fighting and instability in Yemen,

Kenya Ready to Start Work at Northern Port

Kenya is ready to begin work on the first three berths at a long-delayed port on its northern coast, next to the historic trading town of Lamu, President Uhuru

No More State Funds, Russia Warns its Ship Builders

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin came down heavily on country's shipbuilders criticizing them for doing a poor job to implement instructions from the

Logistics

Baltic Sea Freight Index Flat on Muted Vessel Activity

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, remained steady on Thursday due to a muted vessel activity.

Long Beach, LA Collaborate to Improve Cargo Flow

Executives from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles held a kickoff meeting earlier this week to begin working together to focus on cargo conveyance strategies

Expanded Panama Canal to be Operational by April 2015

The widened Panama Canal is expected to finally be up and running in April 2016, after months of delays and cost overruns, AFP reports. The expansion project area will allow bigger ships to transit,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Navigation Pipelines Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2442 sec (4 req/sec)