The United States, which has received permission to station a barge in Kuwaiti territorial waters to use as a base, has no plans to deploy the floating fortress in the foreseeable future, U.S. officials have said.
Kuwait suffered some embarrassment when it was disclosed in December that the emirate had agreed to a longstanding U.S. request for permission to station a barge in Kuwaiti waters to provide additional protection for minesweeping and escort operations in the northern gulf.
"There are no immediate plans to deploy the barge at this time," a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Navy has made highly effective use of two other barge bases posted in international waters in the gulf as floating fortresses intended to counter Iranian mine-laying and speedboat attacks on U.S.-registered shipping.
The barges are used to store supplies and provide bases for helicopters and patrol boats used by Army and Navy commando teams.