Navy converting ship into floating commando base in Middle East

The U.S. Navy is working to place a 'mothership' for Special Operations Forces in the Middle East, Fox News confirms.

The USS Ponce, which was most recently being used as a dock in the Mediterranean Sea for the Libyan operation, was scheduled to be decommissioned in December. Navy officials now tell Fox News that the ship will be transformed into a flotilla to be used by Navy SEALs.

The move comes in response to a standing request from the U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, to the Pentagon for the base. The commando teams will be able to to use it for high speed boats and helicopters.

A market survey posted by the Military Sealift Command in December asked that ship be able to support mine counter measures.

Sea mines are a concern in the Strait of Hormuz should Iran make good on its threats to close the vital oil passage way, an official told Fox News.

The ship could be ready in four to five months time, officials said.

The U.S. Special Operations Command has sought a transportable floating base for several years, The Washington Post reports.

The 'mothership' would reportedly help expand the range of commando squads operating from small speedboats in remote coastal areas, The Washington Post reports.

Fox News' Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report. 

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