Surface Forces: May 24, 2005


The Iraqi Navy has ordered six new patrol boats, to be built in an Iraqi ship yard. The first of the Al Uboor class boats will enter service later this year, and the last of the six will be completed by next Summer. Each of the boats cost $2.5 million. The Al Uboors will be similar to the five 87 foot patrol boats received last year, from Taiwan. The Al Uboors will be equipped with the latest radar, navigation and communications systems, as well as some heavy machine-guns. The main job of the Al Uboors will be guarding the oil drilling platforms offshore, and going after smugglers, who are still very active in the area. This expansion of the Iraqi navy will enable foreign warships to be withdrawn from duty patrolling Iraqi waters. Iraqs main port, Umm Qasr currently handles about fifty cargo ships a month, and has not had any security problems in the last twelve months. The port is adding six new cranes and two new births (one for passenger ships and the other for RORO, or Roll On Roll Off, ships). 


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