U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) announced March 26 that Romania has joined a multinational maritime coalition established in 2019 to deter attacks on commercial shipping in the Middle East. Romania joined the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) and its operational arm, Coalition Task Force Sentinel. Headquartered in Bahrain with U.S. 5th Fleet, IMSC previously included eight partner-nations. Romania becomes the ninth and newest member since Estonia joined in late-2020. Personnel from the Romanian Navy are initially slated to serve at IMSC’s headquarters.
“We are excited to welcome Romania to the team,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “They have a proud naval tradition and we look forward to adding their skills and professionalism to one of our most essential and effective multinational organizations in the Middle East.”
IMSC was formed in July 2019 in response to increased threats to freedom of navigation for merchant mariners transiting international waters in the Middle East. Coalition Task Force Sentinel was established four months later to deter state-sponsored malign activity and reassure the merchant shipping industry in the Bab al-Mandeb and Strait of Hormuz. In addition to Romania, IMSC member-nations include Albania, Bahrain, Estonia, Lithuania, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.