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May 10, 2007


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Robert Petersen

I am not a naval expert but I think I would like to point at a few things which I consider to be obvious even to non-military or non-naval experts. Especially regarding the situation in the Persian Gulf, where a war could erupt pretty soon thanks to the Iranian nuclear program: While oil tankers today might be more difficult to sink they still constitute extremely large, slow-moving targets.They are not protected the same way like aircraft carriers and there are missiles specifically designed to "kill" a carrier. So oil tankers are vulnerable. Especially in a "lake" like the Persian Gulf. Given the fact that the oil market today is very stressed even the destruction of one or two oil tankers would send a powerful message to the oil market and I can't see how it is possible to protect all of them. Unless you use the convoy system like during the two world wars. The argument that US marines than secure the area around Hormuz to prevent land attacks against ships (which was mentioned in the article in Foreign Affairs) is not convincing. After all: How much success did American ground forces experiencing in Iraq since 2003? Nope, while oil tankers might be better today I wouldn't take the chance and ignore their obvious vulnerabilities.

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