The U.S. military is readying plans to embark armed personnel on commercial ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, after a spate of vessel seizures by Iranian forces in the Middle East, according to leaks from multiple news agencies.

The effort has not yet received final approval, but could commence as soon as possible, said one official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military planning.

No official announcements have been made until now by the US government and Pentagon but if this plan is approved this means that marines and navy sailors would provide the security only at the request of the ships involved.

The contemplated move is described as extremely complex as it will need the approval of the country under which the ship is flagged and the country under which the owner is registered.

The effort, first reported by the Associated Press, if officially approved and confirmed by the US government is among a set of multiple actions being pursued by the Biden administration following a purported rise in attempts by Iran to seize commercial tanker ships.

The U.S. Naval forces Central Command reported at the end of July a naval exercise over the Arabian Gulf, with representatives from Bahrain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The 11-nation coalition, International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC), conducted exercise called “Sentinel Shield” aboard a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft that patrolled waters near the Strait of Hormuz. The aircraft practiced airborne reconnaissance and surveillance.

The U.S Central Command noted that this exercise supports multinational efforts led by the United States to increase the rotation of forces patrolling in and near the Strait of Hormuz, with partners following a spate of merchant vessel seizures by Iran three months ago.

Shipping Telegraph reported in July that the US Navy had intervened to prevent Iran from seizing two commercial tankers in the Gulf of Oman in the latest in a series of seizures or attacks on ships in the area since 2019.

US Naval Forces Central Command said at that time that “US forces prevented two attempted commercial tanker seizures by the Iranian Navy after the Iranians had opened fire in one of the incidents near the coast of Oman.”