A ship was hit by an explosion at the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah, as attacks in the Red Sea mount.

An “explosive-laden” boat struck a fuel tanker early on Monday morning in what was a “terrorist attack,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing a spokesperson at the Ministry of Energy.

There were no casualties and no disruptions to oil or fuel supplies, SPA said.The incident came just three weeks after an oil tanker was damaged, possibly by a mine, at the Saudi terminal of Shuqaiq and Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed a missile strike on a Saudi Aramco fuel depot in Jeddah. …more here

Security for tankers and other shipping in the packed shipping lanes of the Persian Gulf, to a lesser extent, the Red Sea, and the Somali Coast may be more likely to be taken seriously when insurers decide to mandate a solution.

USS Hurricane (PC-3)

The Cyclone-class patrol ships are a class of United States Navy coastal patrol boats. Most of these ships were launched between 1992 and 1994 and they’re old. They had a fifteen year projected lifespan when they slid off the chalks and were commissioned at a cost of $20 million 1992 dollars each.

A new ship in this class, not necessarily of American design (Australian Armidale – below- at a cost of $30m each would work as would others), may be the solution and they would be crewed not by nationally flagged crews, but by independent contractors.  The 57m length is about right for this mission, with the capacity for surface action against pirate vessels and smaller combatants operated by rebel groups in the Middle Eastern Theater.  They could fly the flag of the nation hosting them to give them a legitimate letter of marque.



  1. One of my dads dairy farmer friends from south east Kansas, captained a PT in the pacific in the war of Japanese aggression. These boats seem to be evolved from those marvels. Like a pesky yellow jacket!

    • The US Littoral Combat ships are too expensive and lack armament. These classes of ships, on the other hand, are perfect for engaging Huthi and Iranian gunboats in the Gulf.

      I don’t seen this scenario playing out with privately raised, crewed and armed boats defending tankers when national navies are not prepared to do it, but it’s an idea.

  2. Not a naval person by any stretch. That said, to my eye, HMAS Broome is butt ugly. Not as ugly as a Littoral, for sure. They Cyclones are form follows function and look the part. That sloped structure forward of the Broome’s bridge looks like a styling gimmick, IMO.

  3. LL – the LCS is a pig and a huge waste of money IMHO. Not sure what the Navy brass was thinking on that, the Zumwalt, as well as the Ford. But those types of questions could be asked in regards to all branches. What are your thoughts on the new frigate design and the on going upgrades to the Arliegh Burke line?

    • The Arleigh Burke hull is still useful whether you’re going to top it with a Cruiser or a Destroyer. My feelings are that you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken. The proposals to change things have not been promising.

  4. Give them a OTO Melara 76 mm, a 40mm Bofors, and turn them loose. One could add a 25mm chain gun just for ‘fun’… And I know quite a few ‘contractors’ that would take that job.

    • Why not? Build a fleet mandated by insurance companies and tear the hell of the Iranian or Iranian backed attacks on oil tankers. I’m not saying that they should only fly the Jolly Roger, but that should be flown from the yard arm to illustrate that their intentions are serious.

  5. For some reason, when I first saw the headline to this post, I thought of a cyclone lifting DC up into Oz….oh well.

    • They have miniguns and a 25mm chain gun forward. They’re not equipped for a big fleet action but can handle an Iranian threat.

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