Last updated: 23 December, 2012

US delivers two support ships to Iraq

The United States has delivered two naval support ships to Iraq, which is seeking to boost its fledgling maritime capabilities, the US embassy said on Sunday.

The two 60-metre (200-foot) offshore support vessels were delivered by the US navy on December 20, the embassy said in a statement.

The vessels are “large, multi-purpose, multi-functional ships capable of providing a wide range of support to Iraqi naval operations,” it said.

They will also offer support to Iraq’s patrol and fast attack boats at sea, offshore oil platforms and help move security personnel, it added.

According to the embassy, the US and Iraq shared the $115.5 million price tag of the ships and related support, equipment and training. It did not specify how much was paid by each country.

The US military completed its withdrawal from Iraq on December 18 last year.

Less than 200 US military personnel remain in Iraq under US embassy authority, assisting with the delivery of military equipment and training local personnel.

Washington is Iraq’s main arms supplier as Baghdad seeks to boost its overall military capabilities. Iraqi officials say the military will not be able to defend the country’s borders, airspace, or waters before 2020.