On Sept. 14, the Navy disclosed some of its capabilities at a ceremony
to mark 74 years of operations, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said the Navy was conducting more
than 50 patrols per week to protect Iraq's territorial waters and crude oil
The Iraq Navy, based in the southern port of Umm Qasr, has been
developed by the U.S. military and NATO partners, including Britain and
Italy. In July, the Iraq Navy conducted an exercise with neighboring
"In the short time that the Iraqi Navy has grown, it is now responsible
for approximately 80 percent of the territorial waters around Iraq," a U.S.
military statement said.
At the ceremony, the Iraq Navy demonstrated maneuvers in marine landings
and fire suppression. Iraqi Marines also conducted a mock interception of a
suspicious large vessel.
The Navy has been based on patrol boats, including platforms from Italy
and the United States. Officials said by 2012 the Navy would be granted full
responsibility for maritime security and critical infrastructure.
In 2011, the Navy deployed five U.S.-origin Swiftboat patrol vessels.
The Navy also operates 53-meter fast patrol boats from Italy's Fincantieri.
"Only a few years ago, the Iraqi Navy did not have any ships," U.S. Rear
Adm. Edward Winters, a senior official in the training program, said.