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TANKER WARS! Royal Marines seize Iran ship in Gibraltar 4 US

 
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:08 pm    Post subject: TANKER WARS! Royal Marines seize Iran ship in Gibraltar 4 US Reply with quote

Iran Gibraltar tanker seized by British: Grace 1
UK Hormuz tanker seized by Iran: Stena Impero
UK Hormuz tanker briefly seized by Iran: Mesdar


The Spanish claim that the British acted under the instruction of the Americans. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/20/gulf-crisis-tanker-retal iation-iran-hormuz

Britain publicly defends Iran’s right to sell oil under the 2015 nuclear deal and opposes US attempts to blockade its exports, and diplomats in London have insisted that the seizure was connected only with European Union sanctions

Iranian commander warns British ship could be seized if oil tanker detained in Gibraltar is not released
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/05/iranian-commander-warns-
british-ship-could-seized-oil-tanker/
Roland Oliphant, senior foreign correspondent 5 JULY 2019 • 10:35AM

An Iranian general on Friday warned the country could seize a British ship in retaliation after Royal Marines boarded and impounded a tanker carrying Iranian oil.

"If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities' duty to seize a British oil tanker," Mohsen Rezai, a Major General in the Revolutionary Guards Corps and head of the country’s influential Expediency Council, which advises the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"Islamic Iran in its 40-year history has never initiated hostilities in any battles but has also never hesitated in responding to bullies," Maj Gen Rezai added.

Iran’s foreign ministry accused Britain of “piracy” and summoned the British ambassador in Tehran after Royal Marines helped customs officers impound the Grace 1 supertanker near Gibraltar on Thursday.

The tanker was seized by British Royal Marines from 42 Commando
The tanker was seized by British Royal Marines from 42 Commando CREDIT: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
The British and Gibraltarian governments said the ship, owned by a Dubai-based company with ties to Tehran, was believed to be carrying two million barrels of crude oil to Syria, in breach of European Union sanctions against Bashar Assad’s regime.

The government of Gibraltar said on Friday that the crew of Indian, Pakistani, and Ukrainian are being interviewed as witnesses in order to establish the nature of the cargo and its destination.

On Friday Gibraltar's Supreme Court granted an order to the territory's authorities allowing them to hold the tanker for another fortnight. The Gibraltar government said the ruling had been made on the basis that there were "reasonable grounds" to believe the ship was breaking EU sanctions by transporting oil to Syria.

The incident has damaged attempts to tried to remain neutral in a brewing confrontation between the United States and Iran.

The US on Friday requested an emergency meeting of the UN's nuclear watchdog to discuss Iran, days after Tehran breached a uranium enrichment limit set in a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Britain publicly defends Iran’s right to sell oil under the 2015 nuclear deal and opposes US attempts to blockade its exports, and diplomats in London have insisted that the seizure was connected only with European Union sanctions against Syria, not US sanctions against Iran.

The transport of oil to Syria would breach EU sanctions
The transport of oil to Syria would breach EU sanctions CREDIT: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
France said on Thursday that a special trade mechanism, Instex, aiming at making it possible trade between EU members and Iran to continue in the face of US sanctions, would complete a first, limited transaction in the coming days.

But the foreign minister of Spain, which disputes British ownership of Gibraltar, said the UK acted on a request by the United States.

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday the incident showed Britain was following “the hostile policies of the United States, which is unacceptable to Iran".

The government of Gibraltar said it acted entirely independently and denied seizing the tanker at the request of the United States or any other country.

"There has been no political request at any time from any Government that the Gibraltar Government should act or not act, on one basis or another," it said in a statement on Friday.

The US and Britain have blamed Iran for a series of sabotage attacks against tankers near the Strait of Hormuz in May and June, and General Rezai's threat will be taken seriously by maritime security operators.

Gibraltar has denied detaining the tanker on the request from the United States or any other government
Gibraltar has denied detaining the tanker on the request from the United States or any other government CREDIT: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
But following through on the threat to seize a British ship would be complicated by the often opaque structure of modern shipping.

“What is a British vessel? It is not so straightforward. You could be company registered in Liberia and be flagged in Panama but have a British owner. Or you could be a UK flagged vessel with the company registered in France with a German owner,” said Michelle Bockmann, a commodities shipping analyst and editor at Lloyd’s List.

“On the balance of probabilities it is the kind of threat being made in line with previous threats to close the strait of Hormuz. There is always bellicose rhetoric, but let's hope it is unlikely to materialise.”

At least one British-flagged tanker, a super-tanker called the Pacific Voyager, passed through the strait of Hormuz en route to the Saudi port of Ras Tanura on Friday. It is Japanese-owned, operated by a Singaporean company, and hired by a subsidiary of a South Korean firm.

Maersk, the Danish shipping giant, on Thursday announced it would levy a war risk surcharge on cargos transiting the Persian Gulf.

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Last edited by TonyGosling on Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:37 pm; edited 5 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The British Government has (probably) acted wholly illegally in this enterprise. The tanker, Grace 1, was clearly in Moroccan / International waters when she was illegally boarded by Royal Marines, heading east northeast. I referred also to Google maps and her position was in one of 3 sea-lanes, so I'm inclined to suspect international waters.

The position where it changes course northwards (see graphic below) is at 2234 GMT on 3rd July

https://www.myshiptracking.com


Except for its far eastern end, the Strait lies within the territorial waters of Spain and Morocco. The United Kingdom claims 5.6 km (3.5 mi; 3.0 nmi) around Gibraltar on the northern side of the Strait, putting part of it inside British territorial waters. As this is less than the 22.2 km (13.8 mi; 12.0 nmi) maximum, it means, according to the British claim, that part of the Strait lies in international waters. The ownership of Gibraltar and its territorial waters is disputed by Spain.

Similarly, Morocco disputes Spanish sovereignty over Ceuta on the southern coast.



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i-paper headline: Echoes of Empire? More like Gilbert and Sullivan

Trump is powering the UK’s preparations for war – it is he who needs to be deterred, not Iran

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iran-tanker-crisis-trump-boris-jo hnson-hunt-strait-of-hormuz-war-a9015396.html

Let’s stop pretending that Middle East sanity can emerge from the current inhabitant of the White House
Robert Fisk @indyvoices - Monday 23 July 2019
It’s about time we wised up to what is going on in this utterly farcical “crisis” in the Gulf, this charade of lies and pomposity which Trump and his doggies in London are presenting to us.
An American president who is a racist, misogynist, dishonest and psychologically disturbed man – assisted by two vicious and equally dishonourable and delusional advisers – is threatening to go to war with Iran while a kipper-waving and equally serial-lying buffoon, who is probably the future British prime minister, prefers to concentrate on the self-destruction of his country rather than the hijacking of his ships.
The Iranians, ever the scheming Shia “terrorists” of the Gulf, have dared to give two fingers to the crackpot president who ratted on his country’s international nuclear agreement with Iran, and now play motor-boats in the Strait of Hormuz to remind both Trump and Johnson – and poor wee Jeremy Hunt – that the Middle East is the graveyard of empires both real and long dead. What mischief! What brazen terroristic crimes will the Persians be up to next?
And we take all this garbage seriously? Perhaps we must blame ourselves. Our commentators and our correspondents, our mighty media empires, gleefully take down the sleazy characters in Washington and London and then – the moment they sniff war – their faces freeze in righteous and patriotic lockjaw as they speak disingenuously of Trump’s “Mid-East policy”, his “Gulf policy”, his close friendship with his blood-spattered Saudi “ally” or his land-grabbing Israeli ally.
What tosh. There is no Trump policy on anything. Nor is there a Boris Johnson policy, nor a Jeremy Hunt policy – save, perhaps, a plaintive Gilbert and Sullivan bleat about Iran’s “totally and utterly unacceptable” behaviour in nicking the Stena Impero.
“Impero” was the right word. Indeed, there was nothing sadder or more pitiful than the sound of the commander of HMS Montrose – or “Foxtrot 236” as the Iranians addressed him by the frigate’s bow number – reading his Victorian rulebook to the Revolutionary Guards on Friday. “You must not impair, impede, obstruct or hamper the passage of the MV Stena Impero,” he quoth. Oh but the Iranians could and did impair, impede, obstruct and hamper the passage of the British-flagged tanker.
For they knew that the only British naval vessel swanning around in the entire 251,000sq m of sea which is the Arabian Gulf – or the Persian Gulf, take your pick – was a 436ft-long frigate far too far away to prevent such “impairment” and “obstruction”. Long gone are the days when 15-year-old Horatio Nelson imperiously sailed the Gulf up to Basra in the 18th-century 20-gun frigate Seahorse under the captaincy of his uncle Maurice Suckling. If HMS Duncan, named after the 18th-century victor of the Battle of Camperdown, comes to the relief of HMS Montrose, named after the 18th-century duke, they can only spend a few weeks together. Then Montrose will head home.
In Nelson’s day, the royal navy possessed more than 600 warships. Today, we have fewer than 20 to stop the Persian hordes – or Chinese hordes or any other hordes – from impairing, impeding, obstructing and hampering what we like to call “our vital oil supplies”. It was somehow fitting that the kidnapped tanker was running empty on its way to the dictatorial kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Trump’s loveable ally, when it was hijacked. No wonder Jeremy Hunt wants to cool the waters of the Gulf rather than order his tiny ship to play escort with America’s mighty fleet.
Yet, it was truly fitting that on the cusp of a new era of British self-delusion and imperial mysticism, the Brits should have embarked on the Monty Pythonesque seizure of the Iranian tanker at Gibraltar. We were given to understand – and here the blanket of bombast was richly embroidered – that the Grace 1, boarded as elegantly by the Royal Marines as their masked Iranian opposite numbers were to rappel onto the Stena Impero, was seized because she was carrying oil to Syria. The EU, supposedly all too keen to exercise such sanctions, said nothing. And then Jeremy wanted to chat to the Iranians, to receive assurances that their tanker was not headed to Banias but – who knows? – to the Greek Islands, perhaps, or the Costa del Sol.
So, just to complete the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, the matter was handed over to the chief justice of the Gibraltar Supreme Court whose political jurisdiction – we are now supposed to believe – embraces great affairs of state from Washington and London to Tehran, even though the rock’s population is less than 35,000 souls. Oh but yes, we are told, the Gibraltar Supreme Court has ordered the Grace 1’s detention for another 30 days. Well, well, we must do what this almighty judiciary wishes. Truly, this is only one step away from Trial By Jury, the comic opera which our probable future prime minister must surely adore.
---------------- i-paper finishes ----- INDEPENDENT ONLINE continues --------------
Had the Americans not – as increasingly appears to be the case – urged, told or instructed the British to grab the Grace 1, be sure they would not have done so. And be sure that if Jeremy had declined to involve himself in this nonsense any longer, the Gibraltar Supreme Court and its chief justice and its three other judges would have forgotten their legal mumbo jumbo, graced the Iranian captain with their favour and wished him God’s speed. But no. The moment we got involved in this incendiary action, it was utterly inevitable that the Iranians would do the same. As I’ve often reflected, those Persian chaps understand us much better than we understand them.
Come with me for a moment, then, to Tehran. Do we really think that the Iranians – haughty, vain, cruel and vindictive though they can be – are not aware of Britain’s imminent Brexit self-immolation? Do we imagine for a moment that they have not grasped the intricacies of the Johnson-Hunt battle, its outcome decided by a cabal of Tories whose decisions make Iran’s parliamentary and presidential elections look like a model of international democracy? Be sure the Iranians noted Boris Johnson’s kipper. But they have bigger fish to fry in the Gulf.
And do we seriously believe that the Iranians have forgotten the last “tanker war” in the Gulf in 1987? I remember it very well. I reported the whole wretched affair, literally flying over the steaming Gulf on helicopters, day after day. The climax came when the Americans decided to flag Kuwaiti tankers with the Stars and Stripes and give them a US naval escort to protect them from Iranian air attacks. Today, it sounds familiar. We were, at the time of course, allied with that fine and democratic Arab warrior Saddam Hussein who had invaded Iran in 1980 (at an ultimate cost of more than a million lives). Well, the very first escort mission went disastrously wrong – although Trump, Hunt and Boris Johnson and Humpty Dumpty have forgotten all this – when the Kuwaiti tanker al-Rakkah, now nominally blessed as the US tanker Bridgeton and accompanied by a clutch of US naval vessels, hit an Iranian mine on 24 July 1987.
It was able to continue its voyage, but the literally thin-skinned American warships – whose sides were so fragile that a mine could have sunk them – spent the rest of the journey in line astern behind the Bridgeton like a gaggle of chicks, using the vast carrier’s bulk to protect themselves. The Iranians, as I say, will not have forgotten this American humiliation. They are, after all, specialists in humiliation when they believe they have been humiliated.
But do we think that Trump’s ridiculous “Gulf Protection Force” would fare any better? There are few volunteers, but since Boris Johnson was prepared to sink a British ambassador, I suppose he might as well risk a British frigate or two.
The Iranians, again, will have worked all this out. Their nuclear treaty, honourably signed with the American president of the time, has been torn up, eviscerated and most shamefully destroyed by Trump. So after being ratted on by the Americans, and force-fed more sanctions by the culprit, why shouldn’t the Iranians play a few super-power games of their own, using Her Britannic Majesty’s innocent vessels on their play station? We still haven’t grasped the true import – but again, be sure the Iranians have – of Trump’s outrage at Sir Kim Darroch’s diplomatic reporting on the US destruction of the nuclear deal. Trump’s anger was clearly intended to defenestrate the British ambassador. He was saying “send him back” – as surely as he wanted to send a US congresswoman “back” for being rude to him. And our probable future prime minister actually went along with it.
Yet amid this chicanery, we are still supposed to spoon up the gruel that our imperial messengers write for us, pretending yet again that there is a Trump policy in the Gulf, that Middle East sanity can emerge from the inhabitants of a mental institution. Hence David Ignatius, an old colleague of mine and a friend in the days of Lebanon’s civil war, is now writing the following codswallop in his US column: “As the United States’ confrontation with Iran deepens in the Persian Gulf ... the grim but necessary task is to deter Iran and prepare for war, if deterrence fails.”
To do this, Mohammed bin Salman, according to the aforesaid Ignatius, must take responsibility for the butchery of Jamal Kashoggi and close down the criminal Yemen war – as if the crown prince would contemplate the second, let alone the first – because “the US-Saudi relationship is important for both countries’ security – especially as the confrontation with Tehran edges closer to war ... resetting the US-Saudi relationship on a more honest basis is urgent now, as the danger of regional conflict grows.”
So forget the fact that Trump is a lunatic and that the crown prince appears to be a deeply disturbed young man and runs a psychotic state. The White House is a mad house, but according to Ignatius we must prepare for “the grim but necessary task” of “deterring Iran” – rather than deterring Trump – as “the danger of regional conflict grows”. How can we go on taking this twaddle? Is there not a switch-off button to allow us the silence of reflection – at least a few moments to contemplate that insanity is powering our preparations for war?
It might be a good idea, right now, to remember what it’s like to patrol the Gulf off the Iranian coastline. Just over 30 years ago, I was aboard one of the Montrose’s older sister ships, the frigate HMS Broadsword, as it escorted British tankers through the Strait of Hormuz and under the gaze of the Revolutionary Guards. To give readers a touch of reality – real reality, so to speak – this is what I wrote at the time:
“What afflicted most of the seamen in the Gulf was the heat. It burnt the entire decks until they were, quite literally, too hot to walk on. British sailors stood on the edges of their shoes because of the scalding temperatures emerging from the steel. The depth-charge casings, the Bofors gun-aiming device, were too hot to touch. On the helicopter flight deck, the heat rose to 135 degrees, and only a thoughtless leading hand would have touched a spanner without putting his gloves on. It created a dull head, a desperate weariness, an awesome irritation with one’s fellow humans on the foredeck.
Inside the ship … the heat shuffled through the vessel faster than the seamen. The officer’s mess was a cool 80 degrees. One glass of water and I was dripping. Open the first watertight door and I was ambushed by the heat … After the second door, I walked into a tropical smelter, the familiar grey monochrome sea sloshing below the deck. How can men work in this and remain rational?”
Yes, I guess “reason” is what it’s all about, but our masters no longer possess this faculty. Broadsword was sold off to the Brazilians, by the way, almost a quarter of a century ago, in 1995. The Bridgeton was scrapped in India seven years later. And that’s where our crazed leaders belong today: in the breakers’ yard.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gibraltar changed its sanctions laws to impound Iranian ship
Richard Spencer
July 22 2019, 12:01am, The Times
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/gibraltar-changed-its-sanctions-law s-to-impound-iranian-ship-lc5vm59bh

The legal changes suggest that the seizure of the Grace 1 was meticulously planned JON NAZCA/REUTERS
Gibraltar updated its sanctions enforcement regulations 36 hours before Royal Marines impounded an Iranian tanker when it stopped for supplies in the territory, lawyers have said.

The seizure of the Grace 1 earlier this month, which prompted Iran to threaten reciprocal actions, is at the heart of the crisis unfolding the Gulf.

The legal changes, reported by the blog EU Sanctions, suggest both that the operation was meticulously planned and that the authorities feared it would need a clearer legal basis.

Gibraltar incorporated Sanctions Regulations 2019 into local law on July 3, specifically giving its authorities the right to “designate and detain” ships if the chief minister suspects they are being used to breach EU sanctions. Details of the events leading up to the seizure of Grace 1 on July 5 have become central to understanding how Britain became embroiled in a confrontation with Iran despite its formal policy to “de-escalate” tensions in the Gulf.

Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, has been accused of allowing Britain to be used as a pawn in the Trump administration’s determination to put “maximum pressure” on Iran. Both the Foreign Office and the Gibraltar authorities have denied that they acted at Washington’ request when they seized Grace 1. It was carrying 2.1 million barrels of crude oil, allegedly to the Baniyas oil refinery in Syria, a target of EU sanctions against the Assad regime.

However, the Spanish newspaper El Pais has reported that the United States sent a message to Madrid two days before Grace 1 arrived in Gibraltar’s waters saying that the tanker was on its way. The report makes it more likely that the tip-off to Gibraltar and Britain also came from America, which is keen to stop as much of Iran’s oil exports as possible.

The chief minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, has said the decision to impound Grace 1 was his alone, but both sides have confirmed that he took the decision after consultation with the Foreign Office.

The legality of the seizure has been challenged. However, Anna Bradshaw, a sanctions lawyer with the London firm Peters & Peters, said it was an offence to “participate, knowingly and intentionally, in activities” designed to evade sanctions.

By entering EU waters the ship was allegedly carrying out such activities while under EU jurisdiction.

How tensions have grown

May 8, 2018 President Trump withdraws the US from the Iran nuclear agreement. Iranian leaders threaten a severe response.

June 13, 2019 Two US oil tankers are attacked near Strait of Hormuz. Mr Trump blames Iran.

June 20 A US military drone is shot down by Iran. Mr Trump imposes financial sanctions.

July 4 Royal Marines help to seize an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warns that a British oil tanker could be seized in retaliation.

July 10 The Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose drives away three Iranian vessels trying to stop the commercial ship British Heritage.

July 13 Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, offers the Iranian tanker’s release in return for guarantees that it will not breach sanctions on Syria.

July 16 Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei accuses the British of piracy over the seizure and vows to retaliate.

July 18 Mr Trump says the US has shot down an Iranian drone. Iran denies this.

July 19 The Stena Impero is seized by the Revolutionary Guards.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has confiscated a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf that was smuggling fuel to some littoral Arab countries.
https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/04/602668/IRGC-seize-foreign-ta nker-smuggling-fuelGulf

A commander with Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Ramezan Zirahi, told reporters on Sunday that patrols from the IRGC’s Naval District 2 had seized the ship near the Persian Gulf island of Farsi on Wednesday night after intelligence gathering.

According to the IRGC, the seized ship is an Iraqi tanker carrying 700,000 liters of fuel for delivery to some Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.

This video shows the process through which the IRGC forces have halted and taken into custody the foreign oil tanker smuggling fuel.

PressTV-Iran seizes foreign tanker smuggling fuel in Persian Gulf
PressTV-Iran seizes foreign tanker smuggling fuel in Persian Gulf
Iran confiscates a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf smuggling fuel to some Arab states.

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