View Full Version : Bravo 1/1 deter oil smugglers along Shatt-Al Basrah

10-29-03, 06:36 AM
Bravo 1/1 deter oil smugglers along Shatt-Al Basrah
Submitted by: 13th MEU
Story Identification Number: 2003102762631
Story by Sgt. Mark P. Ledesma

AZ ZUBAYR PORT, Iraq(Oct. 20, 2003) -- Company B, Battalion Landing Team 1/1 Marines, who are currently deployed with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), recently conducted boat patrols along Shatt-Al Basrah a river on Iraq's southern Al-Faw Peninsula to help stop the oil smuggling activities in the area.

"We're trying to stop the oil smuggling as well as increase the security around here so the port facilities can start running without having to worry about smugglers, thieves or any other instabilities," said 1st Lt. Patrick English, executive officer, B Co., BLT 1/1.

According to English, Company B has conducted boat patrols on zodiacs making the locals aware of their presence.

"It's a way for us to let people know we're here trying to create some sort of stability," said English.

The boat patrols have been very effective and have deterred possible oil smugglers from entering the area, he said.

"When the ships are coming into port, they already know about our presence," said English.

According to English, some of the ships, which come from as far away as the Mediterranean Gulf, are now aware of the Marines activities.

"That means the word is out," said English. "They know the Marines are going to search them when they come to make sure what they're doing is legal. Our presence seems to be the greatest deterrent. A lot of the smuggling seems to have left this area because people know that we are out here enforcing."

According to English, this was the first time his company employed the zodiacs in these types of missions.

"Zodiacs for us are normally used as an insertion platform to go from point A to B," he said. "Here we're using them as on operation platform. We're taking them out for patrols to board vessels."

Although the Marines are using their zodiacs in an unfamiliar manner, they have been able to adapt to the situation very quickly, said English.

According to English, the Marines are happy to be off the ship conducting missions.

"A lot of these guys, who are 18 or 19 years old, are pumped up about our mission here in Iraq," said 22-year-old Sgt. Mike R. Brown, squad leader, 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, B Co., BLT 1/1. "I'm one of those young guys happy to be here doing the things we're doing."


24-year-old Lance Cpl. Reuben Duckett, gunner, 3rd Platoon, 2nd Platoon, Company B, Battalion Landing Team 1/1, keeps a watchful as Marines from his platoon search a vessel at Shatt-Al Basrah Oct. 20.
Photo by: Sgt. Mark P. Ledesma