UK sailors seized by Iranians

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  • #2
Art
Messing with the Royal Navy... :eek:

Did nobody tell the Iranians you don't do that!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6484279.stm
If a British freighter was stopped and searched by the Iranians I doubt the British would be very happy either and so the Iranian reaction whilst politically naive is understandable. I've no doubt like last time the captives will be released in a few days.
 
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  • #3
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Nice video clip. The Commodore is clam and collected, not some nonsense BS from fox news where everything would be hyped up.
 
  • #4
drankin
Interesting situation. Anyone have any predictions?
 
  • #5
Kurdt
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Interesting situation. Anyone have any predictions?
Well if they're not released I wouldn't rule out the SAS being deployed. But I'd assume that the Iranians would let them go pretty soon as diplomatic proceedings were started swiftly.

All in all its a very unexpected move from Iran.
 
  • #6
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Interesting situation. Anyone have any predictions?
I would agree with Kurdt special forces will be deployed if there is resistance, and it will all be low level without much mass media knowledge, and the political waves will be kept to a minimum.
 
  • #7
russ_watters
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If a British freighter was stopped and searched by the Iranians I doubt the British would be very happy either and so the Iranian reaction whilst politically naive is understandable. I've no doubt like last time the captives will be released in a few days.
The Iranian navy most certainly can and does stop merchant ships in Iranian territorial waters. It is a normal, everyday occurrence for hundreds of merchant ships, every day, all over the world. No, if a British freighter were stopped in Iranian waters for a routine inspection, it wouldn't even be noticed by anyone outside the shipping company.

What happened here is likely that the British found what they were looking for (smuggled cars) and the Iranians were not happy about it.
 
  • #8
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:rofl: Who he hell smuggles cars anyways...seriously. Number one kar in all of tehran, high five!

Ive been there, they need to smuggle some good cars into the country, by the thousands. Its all crappy no-name Iranain brand junk and Hundai/Kia's.


Hostages <==> New cars.

I should be a diplomat.
 
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  • #9
Art
The Iranian navy most certainly can and does stop merchant ships in Iranian territorial waters. It is a normal, everyday occurrence for hundreds of merchant ships every day, all over the world. No, if a British freighter were stopped in Iranian waters for a routine inspection, it wouldn't even be noticed by anyone outside the shipping company.

What happened here is likely that the British found what they were looking for (smuggled cars) and the Iranians were not happy about it.
If you had followed the links in the OP you would find your conspiracy style speculation unnecessary as you would have heard the commander of HMS Cornwall himself say first the inspection had been completed prior to his men's detention and everything was in order and secondly an admission by him that although he believes they were operating in Iraqi waters he accepts that the borders are the subject of dispute and that to the Iranians it is their territorial waters.

It was skirmishes over these borders on the Shatt al-Arab waterway that led to the Iraq/Iran war and so it is obviously something they feel very strongly about.
 
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  • #10
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The Iranian navy most certainly can and does stop merchant ships in Iranian territorial waters. It is a normal, everyday occurrence for hundreds of merchant ships, every day, all over the world.
What does this have to do with anything? The fact that *all over the world* Merchant ships are bored and search has nothing to do with navy personal being taken captive.

What happened here is likely that the British found what they were looking for (smuggled cars) and the Iranians were not happy about it.
Why did you conclude this??? A link to this extra information you seem to have would be good.
 
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  • #11
Art
I would agree with Kurdt special forces will be deployed if there is resistance, and it will all be low level without much mass media knowledge, and the political waves will be kept to a minimum.
Personally I doubt it very much. Iran isn't Uganda. Unless the Brits have recruited muslim suicide jihadists to their ranks they are not going to try raiding Iran. :biggrin:

Like 3 years ago when 8 UK service members were detained in similar circumstances I believe this will be settled diplomatically over the next few days or possibly weeks.
 
  • #12
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Personally I doubt it very much. Iran isn't Uganda. Unless the Brits have recruited muslim suicide jihadists to their ranks they are not going to try raiding Iran. :biggrin:

Like 3 years ago when 8 UK service members were detained in similar circumstances I believe this will be settled diplomatically over the next few days or possibly weeks.
Its only a raid if you get caught, and the special forces of the UK dont get caught. :smile:
 
  • #13
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Its only a raid if you get caught, and the special forces of the UK dont get caught. :smile:
But they will be so obvious flying in on a rescue mission in their Airbus 380.

Wait, Iran doesnt have an airfield to support that airplane....never mind. :rofl:
 
  • #14
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But they will be so obvious flying in on a rescue mission in their Airbus 380.

Wait, Iran doesnt have an airfield to support that airplane....never mind. :rofl:
wrong thread... :rolleyes:
 
  • #15
Art
I doubt very much the UK were actually looking for smuggled cars, more likely weapons.
Under international law there are strict rules governing when flagged ships can be stopped and searched even in coastal waters (see Law of the Sea Convention, Art 19) The US who had a major hand in drafting this treaty never actually signed up to it themselves but the UK did and one of the few reasons ships can be stopped and searched is suspicion of smuggling contrabrand hence the "we were looking for smuggled cars" story.
 
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  • #16
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What I dont understand is that HMS Cornwall was supposedly very close to the action. Something doesnt add up here, that is a very heavily armed frigate.
 
  • #17
Art
But they will be so obvious flying in on a rescue mission in their Airbus 380.

Wait, Iran doesnt have an airfield to support that airplane....never mind. :rofl:
The Airbus 380 will only be a diversion. Whilst the Iranian guards are rooted to the spot watching slack jawed in awe as it flys past the SAS will sneak in and grab the prisoners. :rofl:
 
  • #18
devil-fire
Its only a raid if you get caught, and the special forces of the UK dont get caught. :smile:
intelligence gathering for an operation like this would be vary, Vary hard if the iranians cared to prevent such an raid from being successful. holding the people in a military prison or anywhere not accessible to non-authorized personnel would limit intelligence gathering to virtually zero. to make a stab in the dark with vary little intel would mean a lot of risk for everyone.
 
  • #19
russ_watters
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What does this have to do with anything? The fact that *all over the world* Merchant ships are bored and search has nothing to do with navy personal being taken captive.
Ask Art - he brought it up, not me. I agree that it is irrelevant.
Why did you conclude this??? A link to this extra information you seem to have would be good.
It is just a guess. It could also be sabre rattling. I highly doubt it was simply a "tactical error" as the CO suggested, unless the Iranian who made the decision is reaallllly[b/] stupid (the British CO has to be politically savy, so it is understandable that he would say that). If there is a dispute over where you are wrt to territorial waters, the first thing you do is demand the other side withdraw. Simply capturing sailors is an open act of war, whether you think they are in your territorial waters or not.
 
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  • #20
russ_watters
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....you would find your conspiracy style speculation unnecessary....
Et tu, Art - that's all your first post was.... :rolleyes:
If you had followed the links in the OP .... you would have heard the commander of HMS Cornwall himself say first the inspection had been completed prior to his men's detention and everything was in order
It does not say that in the link in the OP. Looking into it more, though, I see that yes, the inspection was finished and the Marines leaving when they were captured. In any case, that doesn't really change the central issue here (yes, I'm speculating on motive and it is just that: speculation) ....
Under international law there are strict rules governing when flagged ships can be stopped and searched even in coastal waters (see Law of the Sea Convention, Art 19)
No:
Out to 12 nautical miles from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate any use, and use any resource.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Convention_on_the_Law_of_the_Sea

Sovereign territory is sovereign territory. There is nothing unsual about the British Navy's actions nor the response to the unlawful siezing of her personnel here, contrary to your assertion.
 
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  • #21
russ_watters
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What I dont understand is that HMS Cornwall was supposedly very close to the action. Something doesnt add up here, that is a very heavily armed frigate.
Yes, I'm surprised the Brits didn't resist more, though I guess if the safety of the boarding party is the priority, there is only so much you can do - a 5" gun and an anti-ship missile aren't going to be much use in rescuing them (though obviously they do have deterrence/coercion value...). It is also possible that the British ROE doesn't give their sailors the ability to protect themselves. These things happens when politicians write ROEs.
 
  • #22
Art
Et tu, Art - that's all your first post was.... :rolleyes: .
What ???
It does not say that in the link in the OP. Looking into it more, though, I see that yes, the inspection was finished and the Marines leaving when they were captured. In any case, that doesn't really change the central issue here (yes, I'm speculating on motive and it is just that: speculation) .
Just to clarify this once and for all YES it does say that in the link from the OP so as I said your speculation was unnecessary and wrong.
....
No: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Convention_on_the_Law_of_the_Sea

Sovereign territory is sovereign territory. There is nothing unsual about the British Navy's actions nor the response to the unlawful siezing of her personnel here, contrary to your assertion.
Hey why bother with wiki when you can read the actual text of the convention here, http://www.oceanlaw.net/texts/losc.htm [Broken] please pay particular note of Art 17 which asserts the right of 'innocent passage' in territorial waters Art 19 which defines the circumstances under which ships will be denied the 'right of innocent passage' i.e. stopped and searched and Art 42 which sets limitations on laws and regulations which can be imposed by the owner of the territorial water.

I'm surprised as an ex-sailor you are not familiar with this international law even if the US hasn't yet signed up for it. Especially as the UK's stopping and seaching of US flagged vessels was such a bone of contention prior to the US joining WW1.

btw As stated in the link you supplied one of the reasons why the US will not ratify the treaty is precisely because it would curtail their ability to board and search foreign flagged shipping.
The treaty limits US military activities especially relevant to anti-terror operations, such as intelligence collection and submerged travel in coastal waters (Articles 19, 20) and the boarding of ships for anti-terror purposes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Convention_on_the_Law_of_the_Sea So your link actually supports my contentions. I appreciate your assistance in proving me correct; thanks :smile:
 
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  • #23
russ_watters
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That isn't what any of that says at all, Art. Pretty much everything you said about everything there is wrong. From the initial link (if you could provide the quote you are referring to...) to your interpretation of the convention. It just plain doesn't say what you are interpeting from it. The limits on "innocent passage" - Aricle 19 is a laundry list that makes your whole line of argument about "innocent passage" irrelevant (for the purpose of this thread, the relevant one is item "G"). And your bit at the end clearly doesn't (anti-terrorism and intelligence issues the US has with the treaty) doesn't have anything to do with the issue here either.

Assuming the British were, in fact, in Iraqi waters, their actions were perfectly in accordance with international law, as is practiced everywhere around the world, hundreds of times a day. If they were in Iranian coastal waters, they were wrong, but they would not be subject to capture unless the Iranians are asserting an act/state of war. Either way, for the Iranians to sieze them is an out-right act of war.

Now, could we dispense with the argument-for-the-sake-of-argument and maybe have a discussion about the motivations and implications of this incident? I'm actually at a loss here: can anyone tell me what purpose the Iranians could have for doing this? What do they hope to gain? Don't they see the possible risks?
 
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  • #24
Futobingoro
Perhaps these events are similar to the Thornton Affair and Nazi Germany's tripwire for the invasion of Poland, but with different motivations. Where those two incidents were used as reasons to bring overwhelming force to bear, Iran may have acted to cast itself as a victim of aggression. There may also be the nationalistic urge to "avenge" the Iranian operatives captured in Iraq.
 
  • #25
Art
That isn't what any of that says at all, Art. Pretty much everything you said about everything there is wrong. From the initial link (if you could provide the quote you are referring to...) to your interpretation of the convention. It just plain doesn't say what you are interpeting from it. The limits on "innocent passage" - Aricle 19 is a laundry list that makes your whole line of argument irrelevant (for the purpose of this thread, the relevant one is item "G").

Assuming the British were, in fact, in Iraqi waters, their actions were perfectly in accordance with international law, as is practiced everywhere around the world, hundreds of times a day. If they were in Iranian coastal waters, they were wrong, but they would not be subject to capture unless the Iranians are asserting an act/state of war. Either way, for the Iranians to sieze them is an out-right act of war.
Russ forgetting about my interpretation I quoted the same conclusion from your link for chrissakes!!

As for the Iranian's right to arrest them in Iranian territorial water read the bit again about how one is not allowed to perform military operations in another state's territorial waters. If they were in Iranian waters as Iran claims they were then they lose the right of innocent passage and are subject to arrest.

As for their arrest constituting an act of war surely boarding another state's ship in that ship's own waters is an act of war. Certainly N Korea said recently that is how they would view such actions and I strongly suspect if an Iranian revolutionary guard unit boarded a US or UK ship in their (US UK) territorial waters it would be viewed as an act of war and I very much doubt if caught in the act they would be simply sent on their way.

Whether or not they were actually in Iranian waters is contentious but the lack of info from the Brits on exactly where this incident took place leaves one to wonder if they are as clean as they claim to be.

If they were in Iraqi waters then under the convention which Britain signed they can be stopped and searched but only for one of the reasons listed in the convention and so it may only be a legal ass covering job but they do need to provide a valid reason ergo 'searching for contrabrand' as speculative 'fishing' expeditions is not a valid reason.

Besides the territorial dispute I've no doubt the arrest in Iraq of 5 Iranian diplomats is also a big factor in the current crises and may delay it's resolution.

btw the link from the OP I referred to is a video link. http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/player/nol/newsid_6480000/newsid_6484800?redirect=6484813.stm&news=1&nbram=1&nbwm=1&bbram=1&bbwm=1 [Broken] As you can see and hear the commodore states quite clearly 1) the search had been competed and the Iranian ship cleared to continue 2) the territorial waters around there are complicated and confused and the subject of disagreements.

A BBC report suggests the Iranians are feeling hard done by and under great pressure at the moment and are keen to assert their authority in the region. They do not want to be conceived as (in their opinion) being dictated to or giving in to coalition demands and so this could drag on for a while
 
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