Although it’s unclear exactly what Marines would do if placed on commercial ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, retired military leaders say they could deter Iranian forces from harassing or seizing the vessels — and quickly loop in the Navy if issues arise.
More than 100 Marines already have gotten training from the Navy and are prepared to be put on commercial vessels transiting the strategically important passage ― which links the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman ― if ordered, the U.S. Naval Institute reported Friday, citing an anonymous U.S. official.
The security teams are made up of between 15 Marines and 19 Marines, according to the U.S. Naval Institute. Training began before the Navy ships carrying them arrived in Bahrain on Aug. 6, the Institute reported.
The teams could prevent Iranian forces from coming aboard the ships, retired Marine Lt. Gen. Dave Beydler said in a webinar Tuesday moderated by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, a pro-Israel think tank.
“You will not get on a commercial vessel that has a contingent of Marines on board,” said Beydler, the former commander of Marine Corps Forces Central Command.
The Marines could protect against threatening close passes by other ships, Beydler said. They can fend off attacks with their counter-drone and counter-air capabilities. And with their communications capabilities, they could quickly alert the Navy if threats emerge from Iran, Beydler said.
Retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis, former supreme allied commander of NATO, wrote in a Bloomberg op-ed Friday that the Marines’ “jam-proof communications” would be their most important asset.
Stavridis noted that having U.S. Marines protect commercial vessels would mark a return to a historical role and a beginning as “a powerful fighting force on sailing ships, often protecting convoys of commercial craft.”
Experts told the U.S. Naval Institute the potential peacetime deployment of Marines onto commercial ships would be unprecedented in modern history.
The last known time the military put armed troops on commercial ships, according to the pro-restraint think tank the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, was World War II. To protect logistics from attack, service members from the Navy’s Armed Guard operated the guns aboard merchant vessels.
The Defense Department declined to confirm or deny plans to place Marines on commercial ships.
In response to a query, a spokesman for the Marine Corps directed Marine Corps Times to query U.S. Central Command.
“CENTCOM remains committed to supporting our partners and collective efforts to protect the freedom of maritime navigation and the free flow of commerce throughout the region,” U.S. Central Command said in a Tuesday emailed statement to Marine Corps Times. “We do not discuss future/on-going operations.”
The DoD has, however, made clear that the recent Middle East deployment of approximately 3,000 Marines and sailors on the amphibious assault ship Bataan and dock landing ship Carter Hall was meant to prevent Iran from meddling with commercial shipping.
The Marines who would go on commercial vessels are part of the special-operations-capable 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is spread across those ships plus the amphibious landing dock Mesa Verde, the U.S. Naval Institute reported.
The possible deployment of armed U.S. troops onto commercial ships, first reported by The Associated Press, comes after a spate of Iranian interference with ships in the Strait of Hormuz.
On July 5, the Iranian navy attempted to seize two oil tankers moving through the strait and fired shots at one of them, the U.S. Navy said.
The U.S. Navy says Iran has seized at least five commercial vessels in the past two years and has harassed more than a dozen others. Many of the incidents have occurred in and around the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of all crude oil passes.
“Achieving deterrence is one of those mission outcomes that’s tough to define at times,” Beydler said. “How do you know that you’re being successful in deterring big events, small events and so forth?”
Beydler noted that placing Marines on the ships could bring a potential for escalation.
“It’s a region that’s fraught with potential miscalculation,” retired Navy Vice Adm. Mark Fox, former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, said in the webinar Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.
New Zealand’s largest, full-service real estate agency,
Bayleys, has increased its presence in the Thames-Coromandel
District by recently acquiring two rival property company
New Zealand’s largest,
full-service real estate agency Bayleys Real Estate is
expanding its offerings in the Thames-Coromandel District,
having recently acquired two of rival firm First
National’s offices in Tairua and Whangamata
business has bought Pacific Coast Realty which owns First
National branches in Tairua and Whangamata. These offices
have commenced operating under the Bayleys umbrella,
effective from 1st April 2023.
Pacific Coast Realty
currently employs 12 sales and administrative staff, who
will come across to join the Bayleys Real Estate brand,
supporting the agency’s local offerings, which include
residential, lifestyle, rural, hotel, motel, tourism and
business sales, in addition to property management and a
suite of advisory services.
director Chris Bayley says the agency’s expanded presence
in Tairua and holiday hot spot Whangamata heralds a new
growth phase for the business across the north Waikato
“The acquisition of First National’s
shopfronts and experienced personnel give Bayleys a critical
mass in this market. We are looking to increase our service
offerings by recruiting additional salespeople in the
residential, lifestyle, commercial, and industrial
disciplines to reflect growing demand.
we are proudly 100 percent Kiwi owned and operated and take
great pride in being staunch local representatives. This
means it is even more important today to have a
nationally-connected real estate network, with access to
integrated systems for our salespeople.”
branches will form part of the broader Bayleys Real Estate
network, which spans 102 offices nationwide, employing more
than 2,000 sales and support staff.
director Shaun Paterson says the acquisition reflects high
confidence in the region’s expansion.
“At the same
time many businesses are hunkering down, expecting a period
of consolidation, Bayleys is geared up for growth, and
performing in what we see as critical future markets,
underpinning our commitment and confidence in the future of
the Thames-Coromandel region.”
Mr Paterson says an
aging population in many smaller rural and coastal
settlements is bolstered by the inflow of families,
professionals, and those seeking a better work-lifestyle
balance, necessitating residential development and
increasing local commercial opportunities.
property sector continues to yield new prospects – which
in the case of Thames-Coromandel is buoyed by new
developments including a significant aquaculture and marine
precinct in Kopu, and areas earmarked for housing
development,” he says.
“Tairua and Whangamata are
key locations on the peninsula. Bringing them under the
Bayleys umbrella gives our business a unique coverage,
positioned to benefit clients from across the country –
but particularly those located within the Golden
Triangle,” Mr Paterson says.
percent of Bayleys buyers in Thames-Coromandel are based
outside the local area, with a high proportion of investment
generated from the economic powerhouse regions of Auckland,
Waikato and Bay of Plenty, which house more than half the
country’s population and generate just as much
Pacific Coast Realty’s director Gordon Turner
says that First National has become a trusted local brand,
and while the acquisition will see an end to its name in the
locale, its agency team will continue to deliver excellent
real estate services across the region.
Mr Turner, who
is staying on as the sales manager of the new Bayleys Tairua
and Whangamata branches, says that the agency’s broad
multi-disciplined reach and strategic partnership with
global property consultancy Knight Frank, incoming sales and
support staff will add greater value for buyers and sellers
across the district.
Primarily a tourist and summer
holiday destination, the Thames-Coromandel District has
benefitted from strong recent inter-region migration –
particularly from main centres Auckland, Hamilton, and
Tauranga. This has seen a flight to the provinces, as
homeowners cash in their equity gains in search of a home
“In addition to lifestyle benefits,
there are financial benefits for purchasers relocating to
the regions, and from that perspective, the
Thames-Coromandel Peninsula has a lot to offer.
Bayleys business has been consistently at the forefront of
delivering inventive and original marketing initiatives
during its nearly 50 years in business and had built a
reputation as the leading full-service agency in
Aotearoa,” Mr Turner says.
Bayleys Real Estate will
celebrate its half-century in operation later this
Dallas-based commercial real estate giant CBRE Group saw its profits shrink in the fourth quarter, with global declines in sales and leasing activity.
And the property firm’s execs expect more softening in the commercial real estate market in the months ahead.
“Globally, we expect significant sales and leasing weakness in the first half before adverse conditions begin to ease later in 2023,” CBRE CEO Bob Sulentic said in a conference call with investors and analysts. “In all, 2023 will be a transition year and we feel good about where we’ll be when we get to the other side of the downturn.”
CBRE officials are basing their forecasts on a mild U.S. economic recession this year and recovery in 2024.
The real estate firm’s profit in the final quarter of 2022 fell to just $81.1 million, down from almost $692 million in the fourth quarter of 2021. Total earnings for the year were about $1.4 billion, compared with more than $1.8 billion in 2021.
Fourth quarter revenues were lower by more than 4% year-over-year to $8.2 billion.
CBRE’s business fell off in the second half of last year as rising interest rates curtailed many property transactions. Global sales revenue was down 47% year-over-year.
The company’s worldwide property leasing revenues declined by 7% in the fourth quarter.
“Among property types, multi-family and industrial fundamentals should remain strong, albeit with occupancy declining slightly from peak levels and rent growth continuing at a more modest clip than the double-digit pace set in 2022,” Sulentic said. “Office will remain the most challenged property type as we do not expect occupancy to come close to pre-pandemic levels in the short term.”
He said worker return to office in the U.S. has been slow following the pandemic
“Our current assumption is that this downward pressure that we’ve seen on office leasing is going to sustain for the time being,” Sulentic said. “We haven’t seen much change over the last few months in the return to office.”
Lender tightening of credit has quashed some property sales, leading to a decline in transaction revenues.
“Where we’re seeing activity in sales is for good assets, even in some cases office assets if they’re Class A buildings, fully leased, but for sure industrial and multi-family,” Sulentic said. “There is a lot of capital that’s been on the sidelines wanting to acquire assets.
“With leasing, we continue to see very strong fundamentals in industrial,” he said. “There is low vacancy, there are a lot of companies out there that still need space for a variety of reasons.”
CBRE’s real estate development business suffered a $6 million operating loss in the fourth quarter, compared with a year earlier $122 million profit.
CBRE owns Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co., one of the country’s largest commercial builders.
At the end of the year, the company had $16.9 billion in development projects in progress, down $2.6 billion from third quarter 2022. Most of the building projects were for industrial and apartment development.
Anybody old enough to drink Bud Light knows Super Bowl ads are big business, with companies paying millions of dollars for less than a minute of airtime during the big game, which took place on Sunday.
Mark Evans, executive vice president of ad sales for Fox Sports, said a few ads went for more than $7 million for a 30-second spot. Most sold between $6 million and $7 million.
AppHarvest announced this week that it has begun commercial shipments of tomatoes from it’s high-tech indoor farm in Richmond.
The shipments of tomatoes are from the first harvest produced by the Richmond farm, the compant noted in a release. The 60-acre Richmond farm is currently growing Campari and Maranice varities of tomatoes on 30 acres, and plans are in place to plant the second 30 acres of the facility later in 2023.
“With AppHarvest Morehead, the company expects to grow nearly 1.5 million tomato plants across the combined 120 acres,” a release stated.
The harvest from the Richmond facility marks the first time ever that all facilities in the AppHarvest four-farm network are shipping to top national grocery store chains, restaurants and foodservice outlets under a variety of brands for Mastronardi Produce.
The news comes just two weeks after AppHarvest named CEA industry veteran and AppHarvest Board Member Tony Martin as Chief Operating Officer.
“Martin is working to optimize production, revenue and costs across the AppHarvest four-farm network totaling 165 acres under glass,” an AppHarvest release said.
Madison County is also home to an AppHarvest-constructed 15-acre salad green farm in Berea, which the company said it believes to be the world’s largest high-tech indoor farm for autonomously harvested salad greens featuring a “touchless growing system.” The facility in Berea is designed to grow about 35 million lettuce plants at a time and is a supplier of the “Queen of Greens” washed-and-ready-to-eat salad greens.
On December 27, 2022, AppHarvest announced the completion of a $127 million sale-leaseback of the Berea farm to Mastronardi Berea LLC, a joint venture between Mastronardi Produce and COFRA Holding. Mastronardi Produce is AppHarvest’s exclusive marketing and distribution partner.
In addition to its two Madison County farms and its flagship farm in Morehead, AppHarvest also has an indoor growing facilities in Somerset which is producing strawberries.
Last week covered the first five steps as you rearrange your house (and your thinking) to rent one room to your first lodger. This week the preparations continue with creating the room to rent and making room in your kitchen so you can share it.
6. Re-imagine that spare room. I have tried renting furnished and unfurnished. Furnished is the way to go. You are renting a single room, not an apartment. Lodgers won’t need as many things to move into your house. You can charge more for a furnished room. Anything you buy for it will pay dividends for years.
BUTLER — The Butler City Council is moving to create a new downtown commercial zoning district.
At its meeting Monday night, the council approved the first and second readings of an ordinance amending the city’s comprehensive plan creating the downtown commercial district.
The district is for traditional downtown uses, including low to moderate intensity commercial, retail, service, eating and entertainment establishments. The district is to promote a strong pedestrian-oriented downtown and there are to be no dwelling units on ground floors, according to the ordinance.
City Attorney Cedric Hollabaugh noted the ordinance comes before the council with a favorable recommendation from the Butler Plan Commission, which conducted a public hearing Jan. 9.
“I really feel it’s probably been a long time coming,” said City Planner Vivian Likes.
“General Business allows for a much stronger use and to protect our historic district … this just helps to create some standards for facades, architectural facades, so I think it was something that needed to be done.“
The district applies to the area south on Broadway from the intersection of Main Street and Broadway to the intersection of South Broadway and Depot Street; east on East Main Street from the intersection of Main Street and Broadway to the intersection of East Main Street and Pearl Street; west on West Main Street from the intersection of Main Street and Broadway to the intersection of West Main Street and John Street.
A third and final reading of the ordinance will take place at the council’s Feb. 6 meeting.
Also Monday, the council approved a resolution to encumber a total of $6,933,335 in funds from 2022 for 2023.
Clerk-Treasurer Angela Eck explained the city has several contracts and purchase orders outstanding that were not fulfilled by the end of 2022.
In Monday’s Board of Works meeting, the board approved an agreement for services with the DeKalb County Economic Development Partnership. The city will pay $12,000 to retain the services of the corporation for 2023.
Anton King, president and CEO of the partnership, reviewed some of the highlights of 2022.
King said the county saw about $177 million of new private investment last year, which is about on par with the year prior.
“Economic development numbers wise, we had a good year altogether, holistically,” King said.
King said that covers about 74 different projects, including five within the City of Butler.
Fire Chief Jimmie Eck reported the department had 629 calls in 2022, with spikes at both ends of the year. He reported 74 runs in January and 66 in December, with an average of about 52 calls a month. He reported a decrease in false alarms over the previous year.
The board accepted a bid of $247,000 from L.C. United Painting Company of Sterling Heights, Michigan, for the city’s 300,000-gallon water tower painting project. The company submitted the low bid, with bids ranging from $247,000 to $422,800, the board heard.
L.C. United Painting Company most recently completed projects include tank rehabilitation projects in Millersburg, Decatur and Grabill.
Work is expected to take place in the late summer, City Superintendent Eric Dohner said.
Interim Wastewater Superintendent Scott Lanning provided an overview of 2022. He noted that the long-term control plan has been to get the city’s combined sewer overflows under control.
“When our system takes in all it can handle, it overflows into the Big Run Ditch,” Lanning explained.
“We don’t like that. IDEM (Indiana Department of Environmental Management) doesn’t like that. And so the long-term control plan was an agreement we came up with IDEM for us to get those events under six discharges into the Big Run Ditch a year,” Lanning said.
“Over the last decade, usually we had between 20 and 30 CSOs a year,” Lanning said.
Lanning said the city has captured a lot of storage over the last year and also processed and treated stormwater.
“The combination of the engineering efforts and the wastewater staff efforts, as of February 2022 through the end of the year, we had zero CSOs,” Lanning said.
Lanning said the average cost of working a storm event is about $1,200.
“That’s an average of $42,000 a year we were spending just responding to wet weather events. That’s $42,000 a year we didn’t spend last year, and many years, it was a lot more than that.”
The board accepted a bid of $1,200 from Mark Eicher to purchase a 20-foot wide strip of property just west of 508 E. Main St. The board had established a minimum bid of $1,000. Eicher’s bid was the only one received.