British tanker captured by Iranian Revolutionary Guard

What’s next?

The next response is to deploy warships to the Gulf and then size Iranian assets in the UK.

Yes that’s the expected normal political path. But times they are a changin’. And whilst I’m sure BJ is up for that, that is providing his best’est buddy the orange deranged one says it’s OK, the question is what happens when BJ gets the order of the boot, will the Lenin cardboard cutout join his Hammas mates & do something different.
Just thinkin’ an’ askin’

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I am wondering what exactly the Iranians are trying to achieve. They have been pushing the US by shooting down its drone and now the UK with capturing the tanker. So far we are the side who blinked.

Tit for tat… I suspect nothing more… demonstrating they can hit back if provoked.
But given British flagged shipping had been recommended to avoid the area… it does beg the question why were they there.
Elsewhere security advice is adopted, and BA has suspended all flights to Cairo.

I suspect the UK tanker is a bargaining chip in the release of the Iranian tanker held by Gibraltar/UK accused of shipping oil to Syria. I don’t think it’s linked with the US/Iranian political conflict.

Iran sees the seizure of their tanker as indicating UK support for the US attempt to freeze all Iranian oil exports as part of its policy of maximum economic sanctions against Iran.

The UK, however, claims that the seizure is in line with EU sanctions against Syria, rather than in support of US policy.

If you were Iranian, who would you believe?

Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt’s posturing that he wishes to see the situation resolved by diplomacy rather than force, seems odd, given that we are about to despatch a second Royal Navy destroyer to the area.

What, in all honesty, did he think would be the response from Iran to the seizing of their vessel?

Not to mention the legality of the UK seizure of a tanker with Iranian oil heading for Syria (reportedly), being seen as being a breach of EU sanctions against Syria … Iran is not a member of the EU the last time I looked.


Iran claim that the US drone was in Iranian airspace when they shot it down, whilst the Yanks claim that their more recent downing of an Iranian drone was in response to a perceived threat to their assault vessel, USS Boxer.

Meanwhile, the UK seizes an Iranian tanker, perceived to be in breach of the EU sanctions against Syria, and then feigns outrage when Iran responds in similar fashion.


More like kids in the playground indulging in tit for tat, “go on then, hit me first, I dare you” behaviour, I’d have thought.

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The Gibraltar Strait is covered by the international law of transit passage.
Wiki excerpt…
Transit passage is a concept of the Law of the Sea which allows a vessel or aircraft the freedom of navigation or overflight solely for the purpose of continuous and expeditious transit of a strait between one part of the high seas or exclusive economic zone and another. The requirement of continuous and expeditious transit does not preclude passage through the strait for the purpose of entering, leaving or returning from a state bordering the strait, subject to the conditions of entry to that state.
End of Wiki excerpt.
So as best as I can make out, the UK had no right to stop the tanker in the first place. A country’s claimed Territorial waters has no effect if said ship is just passing through without stopping.

Well given your quote… it states transit although not precluded is subject conditions of entering the state… so the ship was permitted, then apprehended, as the cargo was not lawful for that state, ie the UK.
I don’t believe ships and their cargo in transit passages are given diplomatic immunity by the state that controls the transit passage… that is reserved for embassies and diplomatic staff.

If I were Iranian I would probably believe whatever the Iranian state controlled news published. US = Big Devil - UK = Little Devil.
Whatever the whole Iranian issue is so complex its hard to separate anything let alone make sense of it.

The Iranian tanker was arrested transiting Gibraltarian waters on suspicion of shipping oil & infringing EU sanctions against Syria; so as I see it, its an EU matter & up to them to decide the next step.
The rights of passage is a point worth noting. I suspect UK is about to eat some humble pie on that regard unless the EU approve its release beforehand.
Side issue is Spain don’t recognise Gibraltar therefore it is held in Spanish territorial waters.

The 2nd British warship is a scheduled replacement for HMS Montrose who is being withdrawn for maintenance in Bahrain. However I suspect if this does not de-escalate, more ships & other forces will be moved in.

That’s a fair point Simon.
It’s worth reading the entire Wiki page.

Do we, the great unwashed, know if the tanker was in territorial waters or international waters when it was boarded?

From what I read on www news & with e-mails from Dubai, everyone including Iran agree it was in international waters

If that is the case then the brown smelly stuff will surely hit the fan.
HaaarHaaarrr Jim Lad!

… indeed, maybe, probably, unless someone backs down, meaning someone needs to provide a diplomatic ladder & with the Iranians especially they must ‘save face’

Other considerations - Iran has always maintained that they alone together with the other countries of the Gulf of & Straits of Hormuz are responsible for policing those waters, not the US or UK
The Stena Impero is only registered in GB as all ships must be registered to a country. But its not actually a British ship, its Swedish-owned, Stena Bulk is a subsidiary of Stena AB Group with HQ in Gothenburg

Difficult not to agree with that point of view, though with our usual First World arrogance, we’re not listening.

MI6 probing possible link to Putin…


I understand EU sanctions say that Iran cannot export any oil. The mention of Syria is media hype.

Interesting radio transmissions between tanker, Iranian vessels and RN.

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… as reported in the sensationalist press.
The sensible press say MI6 is investigating whether Iran used technology (that happens to be Russian) to manipulate GPS/navigation data & steer the ship off course