Patterico's Pontifications

7/19/2019

Iran Seizes British Tanker(s) — UPDATED

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 1:25 pm



[Headlines from DRJ]

Iran ‘hijacks’ two British oil tankers with dozens of crew members on board:

A British tanker has been seized by Iranian authorities as the diplomatic crisis between Iran and the West deepens.

Iran has confirmed that the Stena Impero – carrying 23 crew members – was intercepted in the Strait of Hormuz

The second vessel, the Mesdar Crude Oil Tanker, was reportedly stopped before being allowed to continue on its original route.

Trump: ‘We’ll See What Happens’ After Iran Seizes Two Oil Tankers:

“American commercial ship passing through the Strait of Hormuz is being protected by U.S. military aircraft, reports CNN. The Pentagon believes the tanker captures were premeditated by Iran.”

Trump quoted as saying:

“We heard one, we heard two” of #Iran seizing oil tankers today, says @POTUS in reply to my question. But he declines to say if this crosses a line and how US will respond except to say there’s an agreement US has with #UK on maritime security.

UPDATE: Deborah Haynes, Sky News:

BREAKING: Britain advises all UK shipping to stay away from Strait of Hormuz for an “interim period”.
UK also says its response to seizure of British-flagged tanker by Iran will be “considered and robust”. There will be “serious consequences” if situation is not resolved.

BUT …CNN — “UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the UK is “not looking at military options” at this time.”

— DRJ

64 Responses to “Iran Seizes British Tanker(s) — UPDATED”

  1. “We’ll see what happens.”

    Ah, there it is – the steely-eyed leadership the world has come to expect from our president!

    Dave (1bb933)

  2. If Trump does something here, it’ll be because he doesn’t like brown people.

    Munroe (0b2761)

  3. He’s mostly OK with them if they’re in a different country.

    Dave (1bb933)

  4. Obviously, now one could read this in response to the seizure off Gibraltar, but more as a step in escalations.

    Narciso (c67b88)

  5. It looks like a response to the tanker seized off Gibraltar — because it was in violation of EU sanctions, and subject to seizure. I know of no international law, rule or norm that would let Iran retaliate this way, except the playground rule: “You took mine so I will take yours.”

    DRJ (15874d)

  6. This is soobvious. Iran is careful not to capture or try to capture an American ship, so they’re doing what is for them, the next best thing.

    For now, Trump’s red line is killing any American, which would mean war (actually airstrikes on important taregts in retaliation which would get maybe some 100 Iranian soldiers and anyone with them killed. Then the war would stop, if Iran was willing to let it stop.)

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  7. …when are we going to see .50 caliber machine guns on these tankers?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  8. If Trump does something here, it’ll be because he doesn’t like brown people.

    Nope. It will be because Iran hangs homosexuals.

    nk (dbc370)

  9. Iran is calling Trump’s bluff, over and over again. There is no good reason for Iran to still have a Navy at this point.

    Once again, I badly hope I am wrong about Trump being a spineless loser on Twitter, and hope he is ultimately much more successful than he ever actually is.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  10. Trump campaigned as someone who would not repeat Bush’s “mistakes” in the Middle East, so I think he will be careful about taking military action there. But he also portrays himself as tough and someone who won’t back down. Those can be at odds if trouble arises in the Middle East.

    However, for now, this is between the UK/EU and Iran. Our interest, as Trump said, is in supporting international maritime rules (because we believe in FREE TRADE, so that’s ironic). The next step is up to Britain. I hope they can count on us to help.

    DRJ (15874d)

  11. If Trump does something here, it’ll be because he doesn’t like brown people.

    If he does, of the myriad of reasons why, he’ll choose to communicate the dumbest possible reason, and respond in the most idiotic way, and probably tweet it out right before it happens as well.

    Our Xtremely Powerful and Most Exalted Navy ROTC from Buffalo will be arriving on the Emirates Airline flight 63 into Dubai at 4:45PM tomorrow, where they’ll be meeting my friend Bob’s Fabulous Sunseeker 95 “The Big Richard” who will transport them to a Yugely successful raid on the Iran Navy compound on Abu Musa at 9:30AM local time the next morning, so 2 days from now. Of all the ROTC commando units, the Buffalo unit is the Bestest and Most Commando and the Iranadians will be Totally the Most Destroyed in the whole World!! Some people told me “Sir, I think you meant to send” the ‘ SEAL’s or maybe DEVGRU or something, but I told those generals only I can know the Bestest Atackicle plans for Great Fighty stuff, So I, the Smartest ordered them to send the Powerful and Most Exalted Buffalo ROTC squad, on Bob’s Fantastic boat, who I negotiated the deal to buy, Great Deal. This Will Show those Iranadians that they shouldn’t have Cancelled the Apprentice reruns, that was the Last Straw, and that provo-prova-because can’t stand…MAGA and stuff

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  12. It should be devastating to Obama’s legacy that he gave Iran access to so much money. Iran has renewed military ability, and is seeking some of the most advanced weapons our enemies make, and it’s totally possible, perhaps even likely, that one day those weapons will be used against us.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  13. The Guns of August meets The Bedford Incident.

    Always give your adversary an out, chaps.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  14. we had the tanker war in the 80s, the Iranian economy is crippled under the sanctions, so they are lashing out,

    narciso (d1f714)

  15. I thought these were British tankers. Like, you know, a from a whole different country called the United Kingdom. What should Trump, or any other American President (forget Trump), do except help the British if and when they ask for help?

    nk (dbc370)

  16. special relationship and all that, the british navy is a little waterlogged to respond effectively,

    narciso (d1f714)

  17. @15. They’re flagged British- registry is another matter. It’s an old ‘shell’ game in the oil biz.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  18. A special relationship is a wonderful thing and all, but shouldn’t Barkis tell us if he’s willing first?

    nk (dbc370)

  19. “What should Trump, or any other American President (forget Trump), do except help the British if and when they ask for help?”

    When Iran nationalized some British oil companies back in the 50s, the US got involved and it turned out great!

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  20. Have the Brits sent over a new Sir Ambassador yet?

    nk (dbc370)

  21. twenty five years is a decent interval, if the shah hadn’t been sick, if carter hadn’t been such a pushover, the revolution could have been forestalled by the summer of 78, of course if Khomeini had not moved to paris from Iraq, similar results would have obtained,

    narciso (d1f714)

  22. Keep turning the heat up on them, we must not allow these SOBs to terrorize civilized nations. When they do lash out – as RoP nuts inevitably do – I hope Americans will have the stomach for it, as Iran and Hezbollah have assets planted all over this country.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  23. Have the Brits sent over a new Sir Ambassador yet?

    They’re probably having trouble finding someone willing to take the job.

    Dave (1bb933)

  24. Any volunteers? 12 second video, safe for work.

    Come on, tough guys! Raise your hands!

    nk (dbc370)

  25. Iran is asking to have its navy cut down to size, a la Reagan in ’88, if a certain world leader has the stones to do it.

    Paul Montagu (dbd3cc)

  26. I wonder what Putin will give Trump permission to do about this.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  27. Come on, tough guys! Raise your hands!

    If Vladimir Putin is in the bunker, count me in.

    “Well fellas I reckon this is it … nuke-u-lar combat toe-to-toe with the Rooskies!”

    Dave (1bb933)

  28. Maybe bomb an evacuated runway, delaying enemy airstrikes for a devastating 4 hours? Or maybe almost retaliate for bombed drones, like sending in the air force and pulling back dramatically, hoping for a flinch at least?

    Weakest president in American history. Worse than Jimmy Carter. At least y’all got a few judges out of it.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  29. I had a client who owned a spot oil tanker. Besides flag and registry per DCSCA @17, there’s leases and sub-leases, port of lading, port of discharge …. We don’t know whose ox is being gored here, except maybe the general principle.

    nk (dbc370)

  30. “Iran is asking to have its navy cut down to size, a la Reagan in ’88, if a certain world leader has the stones to do it.”
    Paul Montagu (dbd3cc) — 7/19/2019 @ 4:04 pm

    Reagan found the stones five years after the marine barracks bombing. Is that the bar?

    Munroe (0b2761)

  31. I wonder what folks would say if Israel seized a British ship.

    Dustin (8ba039)

  32. One can easily miscalculate as the captain William Roger’s found out, any place that has Russian technicians like that base in southern Syria can be problematic,

    Narciso (c67b88)

  33. Why would they, unless they were breaking the sanctions like that Taiwanese company that tried to that some years back.

    Narciso (c67b88)

  34. I thought these were British tankers. Like, you know, a from a whole different country called the United Kingdom. What should Trump, or any other American President (forget Trump), do except help the British if and when they ask for help?

    But what if the British do a great job and end up with fantastic ratings? We can’t risk that, we must act now.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  35. Strongly betting that Britain’s useless government banned all civilian vessels from using things like high-powered rifles and deck guns to stop these (now extremely predictable) pirate raids.

    Let them serve as an example for Those Who Disavow Gun Control for as long as they’re willing to.

    Advocat (73b272)

  36. Let them serve as an example for Those Who Disavow Gun Control for as long as they’re willing to.

    They have a Navy, like the US, it’s kind of why they exist. A British ship is allowed to hire security, just like an American one, from a PMC like Triple Canopy, Control Risks, or Executive Outcomes, it’s a service offering in fact.

    Depending on where a ship is flagged, and what ports it may be entering will define what is legal for said ship. US ships outside of the Navy and Coast Guard also have zero deck guns, but why have a factual argument when you can build a straw man to fit some narrative.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  37. One thing is clear, Iran’s mullahcracy and their military are the instigators. They appear to want war.

    Something also may be in play: they appear to be claiming the US didn’t take out an Iranian drone, despite all proof to the contrary. Our allies know the truth. So Iran may be lying for domestic consumption.

    Does the regime fear Iran’s citizens more than the citizens fear the regime?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  38. Technically, the flag state has the first word on armed merchant ships but it’s not the only word. The ships must also follow the law of their port states and of the “innocent passage” states, not to mention the practical laws of arming ordinary seamen or turning security guards into aboard-ship Marines.

    nk (dbc370)

  39. Ok, I see the former Kommandant of Stalag 13 already said that.

    nk (dbc370)

  40. This situation should be above politics and devoid of smart-ass humor.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  41. Does the regime fear Iran’s citizens more than the citizens fear the regime?

    Of course. Every totalitarian regime and dictatorship fears its citizens. Otherwise they would not go to the lengths they do to suppress any possibility of dissent.

    Kishnevi (4887c5)

  42. Reagan had one splashdown over gulf of Sidra, one bombing of Tripoli, grenada incursion, marine peace keepers, by that standard you’d call him a wimp, a few dozen advisors in elsalvador some logistical support for the Nicaraguan resistance.

    Narciso (c67b88)

  43. “some logistical support for the Nicaraguan resistance”

    Funded, ironically, by illegal arms sales to Iran.

    Davethulhu (bc6fa6)

  44. “This situation should be above politics and devoid of smart-ass humor.”

    On the contrary, America more than any other country was born in maritime politics and smart-ass humor and we have the right to joke about the countries that failed to learn and maintain its lessons!

    “They have a Navy, like the US, it’s kind of why they exist. A British ship is allowed to hire security, just like an American one, from a PMC like Triple Canopy, Control Risks, or Executive Outcomes, it’s a service offering in fact.”

    Yes, they can pay through the nose for security, or they can defend themselves proactively with much cheaper armaments available wherever fine weapons are sold…assuming they’re willing to violate their anti-gun consciences.

    “Depending on where a ship is flagged, and what ports it may be entering will define what is legal for said ship. US ships outside of the Navy and Coast Guard also have zero deck guns, but why have a factual argument when you can build a straw man to fit some narrative.”

    Narrative? It’s 3-D Chess:


    Dan Lamothe
    ‏Verified account @DanLamothe
    4h4 hours ago

    A U.S. official aware of actions in the Middle East says that tanker ships were surrounded by Iranian fast boats, then seized. Expectation is actions like this could occur for a while, given the sanctions that Iran faces.

    “This is their only lever,” the official assesses.

    IOW: The only ships safe on the trip through the Strait of Hormuz will be those who keep their own security or travel (for a nominal fee) under the US flag and its implied threat of retaliation.

    This is the type of exporting US values that I can get behind.

    Advocat (944f3b)

  45. Well, you got behind the same moniker for the third straight day now, so that’s a start.

    nk (dbc370)

  46. A very small portion, but persons objectively on the other side, like boland and Harkin prevented logistical support.

    Narciso (c67b88)

  47. Advocat (944f3b) — 7/19/2019 @ 6:07 pm

    So, no, no claims of deck gunned tankers, no odd claim of “high powered rifle” bans now? Now the tanker owners are supposed to:

    defend themselves proactively with much cheaper armaments available wherever fine weapons are sold…assuming they’re willing to violate their anti-gun consciences.

    Whatever that means, maybe they want to follow international law. But if they don’t “pay through the nose for security” but then have dump said cheaper armaments into the sea every time they approach a port, that kind of adds up, since they’re oil tankers, and must go to places where they sell, you know, oil.

    IOW: The only ships safe on the trip through the Strait of Hormuz will be those who keep their own security or travel (for a nominal fee) under the US flag and its implied threat of retaliation.

    This is the type of exporting US values that I can get behind.

    In actual other words, do none of the stupid things you said, and follow international law, the opposite of what you said. Do you actually read what you write?

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  48. I updated the post:

    BREAKING: Britain advises all UK shipping to stay away from Strait of Hormuz for an “interim period”. UK also says its response to seizure of British-flagged tanker by Iran will be “considered and robust”. There will be “serious consequences” if situation is not resolved

    BUT …CNN — “UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the UK is “not looking at military options” at this time.”

    DRJ (15874d)

  49. The Royal Navy have several vessels in the region:

    Between 15 and 30 British-flagged tankers pass through the strait every day. In the region there are seven Royal Navy vessels, accompanied by Royal Marines, for force protection in the Gulf. The British presence includes one Type 23 frigate, HMS Montrose, due to be joined and then replaced by one Type 45, HMS Duncan.

    In addition, there are four mine countermeasures vessels – HMS Ledbury, HMS Blyth, HMS Brocklesby and HMS Shoreham – and a docking auxiliary, RFA Cardigan Bay. HMS Kent is due to take over from HMS Duncan later in the year.

    But 15 – 30 tankers a day is an enormous number to escort, and those are just Britain’s ships.

    Unless there’s reason to believe the Iranians are going to harm crews of the ships they seize (and the seized British tanker had NO British, or western, crewman), risking peoples’ lives by offering armed resistance merely to save some insurance company money seems kind of silly.

    There are realistic limits to the security that a commercial ship can carry, and essentially no limit on the forces Iran can deploy if they decide to seize a ship.

    If force needs to be used, much better to go asymmetric and hit them at a point of our choosing in a way that doesn’t allow them to hit back (e.g. cruise missiles, stealth bombers, etc) rather than trying to fight them with small arms on the deck of a floating Molotov cocktail…

    Dave (1bb933)

  50. My intended post got abbreviated, should’ve read:

    This situation should be above politics and devoid of smart-ass humor… which means I’m well out of my element.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  51. “UK also says its response to seizure of British-flagged tanker by Iran will be “considered and robust”. There will be “serious consequences” if situation is not resolved”

    Perhaps John Cleese can provide assistance with a terse letter?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  52. “I say, old boy, that’s not cricket, don’t you know? You leave me no choice but to write a letter to your Club’s Sackretry*.”

    *That’s how they pronounce “secretary”.

    nk (dbc370)

  53. It would be hilarious if the British sent a trojan horse tanker filled with commandos, let the Iranians take it all the way to their port, and then killed everybody involved in the piracy. Then they could park a tanker in the straight and just leave it stationary, daring the Iranians to try again.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  54. Better still, make it a giant, floating rabbit.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  55. During the evacuation of Crete in 1941, British Admiral AB Cunningham said the following:
    ‘you can build a new ship in three years but you can’t rebuild a reputation
    in under 300 years’.
    This was said when he was describing why the Royal Navy under his command evacuated the Army without air cover. He refused to leave the Army to the Germans.

    We will see if the UK has the same stiff upper lip.

    Col. Klink
    Your daughter is a great dermatologist. She stopped taking on insurance patients after Obamacare. She is one of the Doctors I couldn’t keep and then had to find another who cost me more. You must have made a crap deal on syndication and residuals or she’d have been in a better economic situation

    steveg (354706)

  56. Call it the stromberg scenario fron the bond film, the increment might have that imagination but not the numbers

    Narciso (c67b88)

  57. Dustin (6d7686) — 7/19/2019 @ 8:34 pm

    I like your thinking, but why risk the lives of commandos?

    Just fill the thing with C4 from stem to stern, and set it off remotely once they get it to their base.

    Dave (1bb933)

  58. Reagan found the stones five years after the marine barracks bombing. Is that the bar?

    Funny how true-believing Trump loyalists have such a low opinion of Reagan.

    Paul Montagu (dbd3cc)

  59. Funny how true-believing Trump loyalists have such a low opinion of Reagan.

    And they call everyone else “RINOs” when their simian god-idol endorsed Hillary Clinton for president and bankrolled Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, Jimmy Carter, Charlie Rangel and Anthony Weiner.

    Dave (1bb933)

  60. Funny how true-believing Trump loyalists have such a low opinion of Reagan.

    That is the most contemptible thing about Trump and his Trumpkins. They know that Trump is a turd at the bottom of the sewer, they know they cannot elevate him, so they pretend that everybody else, not only Reagan, is the same kind of sewage Trump is.

    nk (dbc370)

  61. Britain says Iran approached tanker in Omani waters: letter to U.N.:

    Britain told the United Nations Security Council on Saturday that a British-flagged tanker seized by Iran was approached by Iranian forces when it was in Omani territorial waters and the action “constitutes illegal interference.”

    “The ship was exercising the lawful right of transit passage in an international strait as provided for under international law,” Britain’s U.N. mission wrote to the Security Council. “International law requires that the right of transit passage shall not be impeded, and therefore the Iranian action constitutes illegal interference.”

    Photo of the assault at the link.

    DRJ (15874d)

  62. They did send a letter to the Club Secretary!

    nk (dbc370)

  63. Hunter Thompson liked to remind people that the scum also rises to the top.

    Elevating any politician these days seems like a giant waste of energy. They all seem to be in a race to the bottom.
    That said, I’ve pointed out before that we’ve had some real losers in the WH and some bigger losers who ran and (thankfully) lost… John Kerry and John Edwards to name two.

    steveg (354706)

  64. We’ve sent soldiers to war for 18 years In at least theatres of operation, on long expeditions and we’re no closer to the end than the beginning.

    Narciso (c67b88)

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