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Utopia Talk / Politics / Tanker wars 2.0
Fri Jul 26 10:31:26
Please summarize the others position before we embark on chapter 3 of the Tanker Wars 2.0.
Sat Jul 27 00:36:26
am i the only one who doesn't know what nim is talking about?
Sat Jul 27 01:53:49
I don’t know but maybe Nim wants you to summarize Jergul’s and Seb’s position on the Tanker War.

I dunno about the Chapter 3 thing though. Maybe a chapter is a thread? So Chapter 3 is the third thread about the tankers.
Sat Jul 27 05:40:39
It is the the third thread of the second tanker war, the first one being during the Iran Iraq war.
Tue Jul 30 06:40:49
Still the tankers have not been released.



Someone please make sense of this! This thread will not fill itself up!
Anarchist Prime
Tue Jul 30 10:27:25
Tanker Seizures and the Threat to the Global Economy from Resurgent Imperialism 278

27 Jul, 2019 in Uncategorized by craig

The British seizure of the Iranian tanker off Gibraltar was illegal. There is no doubt of that whatsoever. The Iranian response to the seizure of its tanker in the Strait of Gibraltar, by the seizure of a British Tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, was also illegal, though more understandable as a reaction. The implications for the global economy of the collapse of the crucial international law on passage through straits would be devastating.

It may seem improbable that the UK and or France would ever seek to close the Dover Strait, but in the current crazed climate it is no longer quite impossible to imagine the UK seeking to mess up access to Rotterdam and Hamburg. It is still easier to imagine them seeking to close the Dover Strait against the Russian Navy. Yet the essential freedom of navigation through the Kerch strait, respected by Russia which controls it, is necessary to the survival of Ukraine as a country. For Turkey to close the Bosphorus would be catastrophic and is a historically recurring possibility. Malaysia and Indonesia would cause severe dislocation to Australia and China by disrupting the strait of Malacca and the Suharto government certainly viewed that as an advantage from which it should have the right to seek to benefit, and was a continued nuisance in UN Law of the Sea discussions. These are just a few examples. The US Navy frequently sails through the Taiwan Strait to assert the right of passage though straits.

Keeping the Strait of Hormuz open is perhaps the most crucial of all to the world economy, but I hope that the above examples are sufficient to convince you that the right of passage through straits, irrespective of territorial waters, is an absolutely essential pillar of international maritime law and international order. The Strait of Gibraltar is vital and Britain has absolutely no right to close it to Iran or Syria. If the obligation on coastal states to keep maritime straits open were lost, it would lead to economic dislocation and even armed conflict worldwide.

Part III of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea relates entirely to passage through straits.

Please note that the right of passage through straits is here absolute, in a UN Convention which is one of the base blocks of international law. It does not state that the right to transit through straits can be subject to any sanctions regime which the coastal state chooses to impose; indeed it is clearly worded to preclude such coastal state activity. Nor can it be overridden by any regional grouping of which the coastal state is a member.

Jeremy Hunt’s statement to parliament that the Iranian tanker had “freely navigated into UK territorial waters” was irrelevant in law and he must have known that. The whole point of passage through straits is that it is by definition through territorial waters, but the coastal state is not permitted to interfere with navigation.

It is therefore irrelevant whether, as claimed by the government of the UK and their puppets in Gibraltar, the tanker was intending to breach EU sanctions by delivering oil to Syria. There is a very strong argument that the EU sanctions are being wilfully misinterpreted by the UK, but ultimately that makes no difference.

Even if the EU does have sanctions seeking to preclude an Iranian ship from delivering Venezuelan oil to Syria, the EU or its member states have absolutely no right to impede the passage of an Iranian ship through the Strait of Gibraltar in enforcement of those sanctions. Anymore than Iran could declare sanctions against Saudi oil being delivered to Europe and close the Straits of Hormuz to such shipping, or Indonesia could declare sanctions on EU goods going to Australia and close the Malacca Strait, or Russia could declare sanctions on goods going to Ukraine and close the Strait of Kerch.

There are two circumstances in which the UK could intercept the Iranian ship in the Strait of Gibraltar legally. One would be in pursuance of a resolution by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. There is no such resolution in force. The second would be in the case of a war between the UK and Iran or Syria. No such state of war exists (and even then naval blockade must be limited by the humanitarian measures of the San Remo Convention).

What we are seeing from the UK is old fashioned Imperialism. The notion that Imperial powers can do what they want, and enforce their “sanctions” against Iran, Syria and Venezuela in defiance of international law, because they, the West, are a superior order of human being.

The hypocrisy of arresting the Iranian ship and then threatening war when Iran commits precisely the same illegal act in retaliation is absolutely sickening.

Finally, there will no doubt be the usual paid government trolls on social media linking to this article with claims that I am mad, a “conspiracy theorist”, alcoholic or pervert. It is therefore worth pointing out the following.

was for three years the Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I was Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Preparatory Commission on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. I both negotiated, and drafted parts of, the Protocol that enabled the Convention to come into force. I was the Head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre and responsible for giving real time political and legal clearance, 24 hours a day, for naval boarding operations in the Gulf to enforce a UN mandated embargo. There are very few people alive who combine both my practical experience and theoretical knowledge of precisely the subject here discussed.


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large member
Thu Aug 01 19:12:20
Iran has multiple security arrangements with Oman and impounded a UK ship in Omani waters based on security concerns (technically, it instructed a British ship to sail to Iranian waters were it was boarded).

In effect, Iran has mirrored UK behavior off Gibraltar.

I agree with your source, though feel he is overstating the illegal aspect.

What the UK did using neo colonial cronyism (technically, a tiny clique in a minute overseas territory are responsible - and not the UK) was simply to assert domestic law over areas that are generally regulated by international law.

And Iran did the same.
large member
Thu Aug 01 19:26:40
"Britain’s intelligence services MI6 and GCHQ are checking whether Iran used Russian GPS “spoofing” technology, which produces incorrect location data, to send the British-flagged Stena Impero off course into Iranian waters.

According to British media, the UK’s intelligence services think Iran might have used cyber penetration to send the ship off course into Iranian waters, thus giving the IRGC an excuse to seize it."

Seems a bit convoluted as the ship could just as well have been obeying Iranian directions to enter Iranian waters.

But at least the fiction of it being boarded outside of Iranian waters has been put to rest.
Fri Aug 02 00:30:39

Gibraltar territorial waters aren't in the strait. The strait is Spanish / morrocan waters. And the ship wasn't transiting, it had arranged a port stop (indeed that's what appears to be part of the issue).
large member
Fri Aug 02 03:55:07
You can make it part of the issue if you want to redefine the boundaries between domestic and international law.

International law allows for domestic juristiction on ships in port or just leaving port (under hot pursuit principles)

What we are actually seeing here is a continued shift in jurisdiction. It fits a general trend with d2p without a UN mandate, US universal jurisdiction principles in the economic field, anti piracy legislation, WTO, the Iranian nuclear deal, and open ended unilateral sanction regimes without a UN mandate.

I will not harp on what a terrible idea those things are.

But you seem to grasp it when it impacts UK interests. So maybe there are lessons to be learned here.

The fact here is that Iran is simply mirroring the UK as best it can. And it did a pretty damned good job.
large member
Sun Aug 04 06:16:51
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian forces seized a foreign oil tanker in the Gulf that was smuggling fuel to Arab states and has detained seven crewmen, Iran’s state media reported on Sunday.

The vessel was intercepted near Iran’s Farsi Island in the Gulf, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said. Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV station reported that it was seized on Wednesday.

“The IRGC’s naval forces have seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf that was smuggling fuel for some Arab countries,” state television quoted Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Ramezan Zirahi as saying.

It was carrying 700,000 liters of fuel, he said. Seven crewmen of different nationalities were detained.

“The seizure of the oil tanker was in coordination with Iran’s judiciary authorities and based on their order,” Fars quoted him as he as saying.

Tensions have risen between Iran and the West since last year when the United States pulled out of an international agreement which curbed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions on Iran.
Sam Adams
Sun Aug 04 13:11:42

"It was carrying 700,000 liters"

Wow. Thats one mighty tanker. Enough to fill 1 whole A380 on a max endurance flight.
Sam Adams
Sun Aug 04 13:12:44
2 a380s i mean. Stupid kgs.
large member
Mon Aug 05 01:07:20
Well, it was smuggling fuel. I imagine that is easier on smaller vessels. I wish they had used kgs as a unit btw.

It actually sounds like a replenishment tanker.
Anarchist Prime
Thu Aug 15 09:49:07
Seized Iran tanker to be released in Gibraltar

Anarchist Prime
Thu Aug 15 09:50:21
U.S. Applies to Seize Iranian Tanker Held in Gibraltar

large member
Thu Aug 15 10:01:43
Yah, that shoe dropping was given from the start.
large member
Thu Aug 15 10:07:47
15th August 2019

Authorities in Gibraltar have released the Iranian supertanker Grace 1, which was seized on July 4 on suspicion it was shipping 2.1m barrels of crude oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

The decision to release the ship was taken hours after the US launched a separate last-minute legal move to detain the vessel.

The court was told the Gibraltar Government had received a request from the Department of Justice for mutual legal assistance in a bid to seize the ship. The basis for the request was not revealed in court.

But Chief Justice Anthony Dudley said there was no formal US application currently before the court at this stage.

“That’s not before me,” he said. “There are no applications in relation to the US letters of request [for mutual legal assistance].”

On hearing that the Gibraltar Government was no longer seeking to detain the tanker under sanctions legislation, Mr Justice Dudley added: "She is no longer a specified ship...and no longer subject to detention."

After the hearing the Government of Gibraltar published detailed reasons for its decision.

It said it had solid documentary evidence the vessel was bound for Syria when it was detained after entering British Gibraltar territorial waters for stores and spares.

But the government added it had since received formal written assurances from the Iranian government that the ship will not discharge its cargo in Syria.

On that basis, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo decided to lift the detention order and allow the ship to sail.

It is not clear at this stage when the ship will sail from Gibraltar, or whether the US will formally apply to the court to detain it before that happens.


Kudos if true. I was not expecting it to be released.

Thu Aug 15 17:00:11
Quelle surprise.
Rule of law.
Thu Aug 15 17:22:13
"written assurances from the Iranian government that the ship will not discharge its cargo in Syria."

"You can only have your citizens' property released if you, a sovereign nation, agree not to send freight to another sovereign nation"

Anarchist Prime
Wed Aug 21 11:32:14
Greece ‘won’t assist’ Iranian tanker sought by US – deputy FM

Wed Aug 21 12:11:52
So, next stop Syria.
Sat Sep 07 11:34:42
Iran seizes ship with Filipino crew for alleged fuel smuggling in Gulf

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s coast guard has seized a foreign tugboat suspected of smuggling fuel in the Gulf and detained its 12 Filipino crew members, state television reported on Saturday.

It said the tugboat was carrying nearly 284,000 liters of diesel. The report did not say what national flag the vessel was flying.

Iran, which has some of the world’s cheapest fuel due to heavy state subsidies, has been fighting rampant fuel smuggling overland to neighboring countries and by sea to Gulf Arab states. It has frequently seized boats it says are being used for smuggling fuel in the Gulf.

The incidents come at a time of tensions between Iran and the West in the Gulf that have been rising since the United States exited world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran last year and reimposed sanctions.

While Iranian media reports say an estimated 10 million liters of fuel are smuggled per day, Tehran has been promoting legal gasoline exports through its energy bourse.

Gasoline sales hit a record high of $72 million last week on the Iran Energy Exchange (IRENEX) for exports to neighboring countries, according to state TV.

The stand-off between Iran and the United States triggered by Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May last year has stirred fears of a Gulf war with global repercussions.

Sat Sep 07 11:46:19
Iran tanker: US offers captain millions to hand over ship

The US state department has confirmed it offered millions of dollars to the captain of an Iranian oil tanker which is at the centre of a diplomatic row.

Brian Hook, head of the department's Iran Action Group, emailed the captain of the Adrian Darya 1 about sailing it somewhere the US could seize it.

The vessel was suspected of moving oil to Syria, and was temporarily impounded by UK authorities in Gibraltar in July.
It was released last month after Iran gave assurances about its destination.

The US justice department, which had tried to block the release, then issued a warrant to seize the tanker.

Reports of the cash offer first appeared in the Financial Times on Wednesday and have been confirmed by the state department.

"We have conducted extensive outreach to several ship captains as well as shipping companies," a spokeswoman told AFP news agency.

The US blacklisted the tanker last Friday. A treasury department statement said the vessel was being used to transport 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil for the benefit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard - a branch of the country's armed forces the US has designated a terrorist organisation.

What did the emails say?

According to the Financial Times, Mr Hook sent an email to the Indian captain of the Adrian Darya 1, Akhilesh Kumar, before it imposed sanctions on the ship.

"I am writing with good news," the email read. The Trump administration was willing to pay the captain several million dollars to take the ship somewhere it could be seized by US authorities.

The emails reportedly carried a state department phone number to make sure the captain - who took over the ship after it was impounded - did not think they were fake.

Mr Hook told the newspaper the state department was "working very closely with the maritime community to disrupt and deter illicit oil exports".

Mr Kumar ignored the emails. The US then imposed sanctions on him personally when they blacklisted the Adrian Darya 1.

On Twitter, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the US of "outright blackmail".

Presentational white space
The Trump administration announced on Wednesday new sanctions on an Iranian shipping network used to sell oil, and offered $15m to anyone who could help to disrupt the system.

What is the tanker row?

The Adrian Darya 1, previously known as Grace 1, was detained by British authorities in Gibraltar on 4 July after it was suspected of moving oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

It was released on 15 August after Iran gave assurances it would not discharge its cargo in Syria - despite the last-minute US effort to prevent its release.

Tracking websites indicate the ship is currently in the eastern Mediterranean, although it has reportedly turned off its signalling device.

Its initial seizure sparked a diplomatic crisis between the UK and Iran, which saw Iran seize a British-flagged and Swedish-owned oil tanker, the Stena Impero, in the Gulf.

On Wednesday it released seven of the ship's 23 international crew. The remaining 16 crew members are believed to be with the vessel near Iran's southern port of Bandar Abbas.

Sat Sep 07 11:49:17
”"I am writing with good news," the email read. The Trump administration was willing to pay the captain several million dollars to take the ship somewhere it could be seized by US authorities. ”

It sounds like those Nigerian scam letters, where u get an email from a rich African who wants to send u moneys for some reason and all you got to do is to give them your bank account number.
Sat Sep 07 11:50:13
Javad Zarif
Having failed at piracy, the US resorts to outright blackmail—deliver us Iran’s oil and receive several million dollars or be sanctioned yourself.

Sounds very similar to the Oval Office invitation I received a few weeks back.

It is becoming a pattern.


large member
Sun Sep 08 02:51:44
The ship is currently positioned in international waters to transfer its cargo to shuttle tankers. Tartus has a newly repaired pipeline there that connects to an oil refinery somewhere else (I don't remember where off the top of my head).
large member
Sun Sep 08 02:52:17
It has technically not gone to Syria.
Sun Sep 08 12:01:01
This was all very predictable, from A to Z.
Mon Sep 09 14:44:43
The undertaking was not to take to a sanctioned entity. The refinery was owned by a sanctioned company - but it may be that the oil isn't going to that refinery.
large member
Tue Sep 10 01:07:43
The oil is going to a refinery somewhat inland from Tartous. The pipeline was fixed not long ago.

Lets see if I can find it...

Homs refinery!

What a name :-).

The oil is going to smaller tankers probably not owned by the sanctioned entity.

Where it goes from there in the 15 nautical mile shuttle to a pipeline on shore...Is that relevant?

Anyway, the EU sanction is not a third party sanction. The arrest was a misapplication of EU law.

I am glad Gibraltar self-corrected. Perhaps helped by the complete official EU silence on the issue.
Tue Sep 10 01:39:59

Yeah, that argument is bullshit though.

Kinda like "we aren't dropping bombs on you, we're dropping them over international waters but they are carried by their momentum onto your territory"

RE EU sanction, we've been over that point.
large member
Tue Sep 10 15:34:11
Its kind of like the argument you generally make. You love formalist crap like that.

The EU sanction thing a case in point.

The ship should never have been arrested with reference to EU legislation. Gibraltar luckily corrected its initial stance.

It is not an EU entity and EU sanctions do not apply to third parties.

I thought you would aplaud Iran's formalist maneuvres to ensure the vessel did not unload its cargo in Syria :-).
Tue Sep 10 16:04:00

Cool story bro.
Anarchist Prime
Tue Sep 10 16:56:09
Britain Furious Iran Tanker Broke 'Promise' Not To Sell Its Oil To Syria

large member
Wed Sep 11 02:35:09
Love that you think so, bro.

"The diplomatic row comes days after over the weekend Iran's foreign ministry confirmed the tanker had unloaded its valuable cargo, estimated at $130 million in crude, "on the Mediterranean coast,"

What is the fuss? The tanker clearly did not unload its oil in Syria.

I am tickled pink that Seb's formalism came back to bite him in the ass.
large member
Wed Sep 11 02:37:33
I would actually love to see the wording of the deal made between Iran and uhm whom exactly? Did not Gibraltar arrest the ship independent of the UK?

Well, more or less. As the Marines arresting the ship flew in from the UK.
large member
Wed Sep 11 03:42:45
Incidentally, it looks like Iran did try to deliver in Greece and Turkey before UK ally USA shut those places down with diplomatic pressure. So Iran said fuck it and delivered off the coast of Syria.

Wed Sep 11 06:56:15

The undertaking was to Gibraltar that the oil was not bound for a sanctioned entity.

So it doesn't matter where they unloaded it if it was bound for a sanctioned entity. The formulism counts for nothing as it's not justiciable - instead countries will be less likely to trust the written assurances of Iran in future as they may have perverse interpretations rendering common understanding of the assurance impossible.

In what way has this bitten me?

large member
Thu Sep 12 03:52:06
Have you seen the actual wording of the agreement?

The EU is incidentally not party to a blockade of Iran. It is completely understandable from a customer of last resort perspective as US actions led delivery to Greece and Turkey unfeasible.

Who in their right mind expected the tanker to return to Iran fully loaded?

It bites because:

"instead posters will be less likely to trust the written posts of Seb in future as he may have perverse interpretations rendering common understanding of the posts impossible"

large member
Thu Sep 12 03:54:33
"General Company for Homs Refinery"

Is that a sanctioned company incidentally?
Thu Sep 12 05:52:45

No, i'm looking at it as it was reported. Do you?

The EU has sanctions about trade with specific sanctioned entities connected with specific crimes in Syria. I did say at the time you were looking at the wrong directive. The refinery in question was owned by a specifically sanctioned entity.

It's not an oil embargo. Though I note the directive you referenced earlier does indeed ban certain substances (not crude).

I also said the rule of law would work just fine and that appeals could be made etc. and that indeed was what happend; while you made absurd suggestions that the entirity of Gibraltan and UK institutions was in some kind of giant conspiracy orchestrated through the royal marines and paid off by the US. Which, you know, doesn't seem to have panned out much. Which might be why you are still making a big deal out of this.

Finally your contention that the EU sanctions would e.g. allow a non EU entity operating in the EU to continue to trade contrary to sanctions is not correct.

I've not expressed a view on the US with regard to Greece, but I would expect Iran to honour an agreement nonetheless, and acting like an evil genie from a fairy tail isn't going to impress people down the line.

Still haven't released the Swedish boat they illegally boarded in international waters have they though? Or even made specific charges about the supposed environmental or safety law they are alleged to have violated.
Thu Sep 12 05:53:15
Not very interested in that part are you?
large member
Fri Sep 13 01:57:45
EU sanctions do not target 3rd parties. They forbid EU entities from doing business with companies and individuals under sanction.

It actually amounts to an embargo when viewed in conjunction with another of UKs closest allies. Which of course is in violation with UKs obligations under the nuclear deal.

Did the rule of law work just fine? Gibraltar released the ship because the UK undesignated the vessel. Not because the flawed application of EU law was tested.

The vessel never operated in the EU. Feel free to apply your formalism *here*

Iran did honour the wording of any possible agreement. It did not unload in Syria.

The only one not impressing people down the line is the UK (even arresting the ship in the context of US applying maximum pressure was ill-advised).

For endless numbers of reasons splashing across our screens every day.

The boat they boarded in Omani waters in compliance with bilateral security arrangements you mean?

I am sure they will get around to releasing that British flagged vessel eventually.
Fri Sep 13 03:06:30

So in other words, you believe a US based entity could transfer oil from the EU to Syria and that would be compliant with EU sanctions?

Fri Sep 13 03:13:23
"It actually amounts to an embargo when viewed in conjunction with another of UKs closest allies."

When standing on one leg, hopping and squinting.

"Did the rule of law work just fine? Gibraltar released the ship because the UK undesignated the vessel."

Gibraltar undesignated the vessel, after Iran clarified the destination of the oil. This takes the vessel outside the scope of the law, so there is no legal basis Uber the sanctions to list it, and Gibraltars govt complied with the law.

"The vessel never operated in the EU"
It had purchased services from the port of Gibraltar. That's economic operation.

"Iran did honour the wording of any possible agreement. It did not unload in Syria."

The wording that has been reported is "the oil isn't bound for Syria". Unloading to tankers outside of Syrian waters, if they know those tankers are transferring the oil to Syria is clearly not honouring the wording of the agreement.

Again, no comment on Iran seizing a ship in international waters that has no operation, and for which they still have not offered a credible explanation.
large member
Fri Sep 13 03:47:49
The US practices third party sanctions, so the question is beyond academic. Also, what is the relevance of "transfering oil from the EU to Syria"?

Are you doing your formalism thing here again?

It amounts to an embargo if the vessel had no other possible destination except the one the UK wanted to bar it from delivering to. Reducing n=1 to n=0.

The UK undesignated the vessel. Let me remind you what the UK is responsible for in Gibraltar. The law was misapplied in any event. There was never any reason to apply the sanction.

That UK authorities decided to undesignate for whatever reasons they may have had is just swell. It certainly removed to test the mettle of the Gibraltian judicial system.

"It had purchased services from the port of Gibraltar. That's economic operation."

That is you dancing and prancing formalism. It would not have been upheld.

"The wording that has been reported"

lol, yes. By the Government that just lied to the Queen. Lets trust them.

Anyway, it seems obvious from the vessel routing that the oil was indeed bound elsewhere after the ship's release.

If the UK has issues with US maximum pressure that lead the oil to the coast of Syria, then it should direct its complaints to Washington.

The ship was siezed in Omani waters in compliance with a bilateral agreement Iran has with Oman.

My comment is of course: lol. What did you expect after marines flew in from the UK to board the Iranian vessel.

Protip: Have a navy if you want to do shit like that.
Fri Sep 13 06:52:29

Fine. Japanese is you can't handle the staggering mental complexities involved in this beyond academic hypothetical.
Fri Sep 13 06:54:18
Your argument is that EU law binds only entities based in the EU, not entities conducting operations in the EU.

So, obviously, if that was correct, a third party could hire an oil tanker, but oil in the EU, and then sail it to Syria, and unload it, and this would not be, in your view, a violation of the sanctions.

Fri Sep 13 06:55:49
"It amounts to an embargo if the vessel had no other possible destination except the one the UK wanted to bar it from delivering to. Reducing n=1 to n=0."

You are seriously contending there are no countries other than Syria the oil could be sold? Are you having a laugh?
Fri Sep 13 06:57:11
"The UK undesignated the vessel."

No. The designation or not under Gibraltan law is a matter for Gibraltan authorities. Ho hum.
Fri Sep 13 06:58:26
"It would not have been upheld."

Then why make the undertaking not to transport to Syria? And previously you argued it would be upheld because everyone's corrupt and working for the US. Do make up your mind.
Fri Sep 13 07:00:37
"By the Government that just lied to the Queen"

By the Gibraltan govt. which has just briefed against the govt that lied to the Queen and confirmed that the govt lied to the public re yellowhammer.

But Gibraltar is just the UK Govt in a Latex mask, which itself is a puppet whose strings are pulled by Washington. How strange.
large member
Fri Sep 13 07:02:05
A foreign vessel enroute that makes a technical stop in the EU is not bound by EU sanctions.

That would be my thesis (and indeed the EU thesis as its silence on the issue speaks magnitudes).

I do not feel inclined to discuss hypotheticals on the boundary of ad-adsurdum fallacies.

Actually storming the vessel has all the musicality of the worst aspects of the Brexit process.
Fri Sep 13 07:02:51
"The ship was siezed in Omani waters in compliance with a bilateral agreement Iran has with Oman.

How do you know this when the Iranians have yet to make a formal charge against the vessel? They even released the captain, which is odd as the first cited reason was they failed to stop to aid a fishing boat they collided with, which would surely make the captain liable.

Something something formalism something.

You called me Maybot a while back, do I need to start calling you Tehran Jergul?
large member
Fri Sep 13 07:04:14
You may want to review the Gibraltan Constitution instead of posting gibberish (you can only blame your phone so often).
Fri Sep 13 07:04:52

The issue was never referred to the EU courts so not too much can be inferred by silence.

My contention is that procuring services in aid of an act that is illegal is will established as bringing you into the jurisdiction of the territory where you procured the services.

So this is far from unsurprising.
large member
Fri Sep 13 07:05:55
The last one I will respond to:

Because Oman has not lodged a complaint against Iran for violating their security arrangements.
large member
Fri Sep 13 07:06:43
"My contention is that procuring services in aid of an act that is illegal is will established as bringing you into the jurisdiction of the territory where you procured the services."

Formalist word-salad.
Fri Sep 13 07:07:44

Gibraltar's sanction act makes clear that designations & listings in respect of sanctions regulations are made by the Chief Minister. Which is not a UK govt official.
Fri Sep 13 07:11:33

"The last one I will respond to:"

I'm not surprised given the shoddy quality of your arguments!

Oman has a strict non interventionist approach and it's lack of formal complaint is unsurprising. But it has formalky called for the release of the tanker, which suggests it does not view its detention as a legitimate legal process.

large member
Fri Sep 13 07:37:42
He may actually only propose a designation change. Interestingly, this means the initial designation had to have come from the UK as the EU has most certainly not designated the ship.

The Chief Minister may neither designate or undesignate a vessel. Only the UNSC, the EU, or the UK can do that.

"Oman called on Sunday for the release of a British-flagged tanker detained by Iran and urged London and Tehran to resolve their dispute with diplomacy.

Oman “looks forward to the Iranian government’s release of the British ship,” the foreign ministry said on Twitter"

This? Sounds reasonable. Resolve the dispute diplomatically and release the vessels.

Good idea.

Ships have to be able to make technical stops. The seaways become more dangerous if they cannot.

The UK employed formulist bullshit and designated a vessel. Iran employed formulist bullshit and arrested a vessel.

Diplomacy ensued. The UK seems to have traded undesignating the vessel for assurances the vessel was not bound for Syria.

It was initially not bound for Syria, but bounced off both Greece and Turkey before stopping outside of Tartus.

We are still waiting for the UK vessel to be released. I suspect it will be as soon as the Iranian tanker enters the red sea.

The UK expects to complain to the UN (for whatever reason. But note it is not complaining to the EU) sometime next month. Before or after an election? Who knows?

You do of course realise that the UK as a signee to the nuclear deal should be doing everything it can to support Iranian trade, not sabotage it?

The optics look horrible. If you want to be part of maximum pressure, then at least be honest about it.
Sat Sep 14 03:31:17
Seb really does not understand what this would have meant for EU trade, had this not been resolved. The silence from the EU during this whole fiasco is very telling. This would have been smacked down hard had it made it to the EU judiciary. Country A has conflict with country B so we will impound all shipments in transit from country C to country B. You can do this, even make it ”legal” within your borders, but not without massive consequences.

This is great example of ”my country right or wrong”, even if it means setting everything on fire. Borisbot is gonna Borisbot.
Sat Sep 14 05:32:27

That's exactly how fraud works with regard to telecom networks though. Don't see that that's caused massive problems of the kind you forsee here.

Remember, the key issue here was the ship was not sailing through, but bought services in Gibraltar. So actually all this means is that ships that would be in breach of sanctions will simply avoid port stops in Gibraltar.

The argument that it would only apply to third parties is more absurd: it would mean that 3rd country firms would have a monopoly on sanctioned trade, while undermining the intended effect. Why would the EU enact sanctions that had the sole effect of disadvantaging EU based traders? They'd just move their registered offices to e.g. an EEA nation.

The silence isn't telling of much at all: the EU courts were not engaged. You don't get a running commentary on events from judges.

What's telling is that the ships owners didn't challenge the case under EU law - if it was a slam dunk case it would have fallen away. Instead, they decided to make written assurances that took them outside the scope of the sanctions.

As I've pointed out, Gibraltars govt isn't the UK govt as in fact been attacking Boris Johnson. But why let facts and logic get in the way of a jolly good grudge eh?
Sat Sep 14 05:35:51

Btw, designated is to name a person, specified is to single out a ship which is the relevant point here.

Sanctions act 2019

"Power to revoke specification of ship made under regulations.
38.(1) In this section and section 39 “a ship specification” means a
specification of a ship made under a power contained in regulations under
section 16 by virtue of section 30.
(2) A ship specification may at any time be revoked by the Chief Minister.
(3) If at any time the Chief Minister considers that the required conditions
are not met in respect of a ship specification, the Chief Minister must revoke
the specification.
(4) In subsection (3) “the required conditions” means the conditions of the
provision included in the regulations under section 30(7)."

It's clear the chief minister has the power to remove a ship from sanctions 38(2).

You are incorrect.
Sat Sep 14 05:43:40
In terms of specifying the ship in the first place:

"Power to make sanctions regulations.
16.(1) Where the Chief Minister has reasonable grounds to do so, he, with
the consent of the Governor, may make sanctions regulations—
(a) for a purpose within subsection (2); or
(b) for the purposes of compliance with any international


"(5) In this section “sanctions regulations” means regulations which do one
or more of the following—"

"(e) impose shipping sanctions;"


"Shipping sanctions.
25.(1) For the purposes of section 16(5)(e) regulations “impose shipping
sanctions” if they impose prohibitions or requirements for one or more of
the following purposes—
(a) detaining within BGTW, or controlling the movement within
BGTW of—
(i) disqualified ships (see subsection (8)), or
(ii) specified ships (see section 30);"

“Specified ships”.
30.(1) In each of section 25 and Schedule 1 “specified ships” means ships
(within the meaning of that provision) specified under any power contained
in the regulations that authorises the Chief Minister to specify ships for the
purposes of the regulations or of any provisions of the regulations.
(2) In subsection (1) “the regulations” means the regulations mentioned in
section 25 or section 23(1) (as the case may be).
(3) Subsections (4) to (9) apply to regulations under section 16 which
authorise the Chief Minister to specify ships.
(4) The regulations may make provision about the way in which the power
must or may be exercised, including provision authorising the Chief
Minister to specify ships by their International Maritime Organisation
(5) The regulations may make provision as to the steps to be taken as
regards notification and publicity where the power is exercised.
(6) The regulations need not require a person to be notified of an intention
to specify a ship.
(7) The regulations must contain provision which prohibits the Chief
Minister from specifying a ship except where the Chief Minister
(a) has reasonable grounds to suspect that the ship is, has been, or
is likely to be, involved in an activity specified in the
regulations; and
(b) considers that it is appropriate for that ship to be specified,
having regard to the purpose of the regulations as stated under
section 16(3).
(8) An activity may not be specified in the regulations by virtue of
subsection (7)(a) unless the Chief Minister considers that specifying the
activity is appropriate having regard to the purpose of the regulations as
stated under section 16(3).
(9) The regulations may, in the case of any activity specified in the
regulations, make provision as to the meaning for the purposes of the
regulations of a ship’s being involved in that activity.
Sat Sep 14 05:44:33
So, for those not interested in reading the act, no, the chief minister does not need someone else to specify a ship.

I've no idea where jergul gets this crap.
Sat Sep 14 05:45:19
"he may only propose" - where in the law, jergul, does it say this?

Quote the section as I have.
large member
Sat Sep 14 07:14:30
Within the context of upholding EU, UN, or regional law. He has freer power to do whatever the hell he likes based on devolved colonial law. In coordination with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office of course.

12 to 14 in the law.

Your position remains that the Chief Minister is merely upholding EU law, right?

large member
Sat Sep 14 07:15:23
Where the Chief Minister is satisfied that-(a)a person or ship ought to be designated by theUnited NationsSecurity Council for any purposes of a UN Security CouncilResolution,by the European Union, or by any otherinternational or regional body,or(b)any restrictive measures ought to be imposed by means ofinternational sanctions,and suchdesignation or restrictive measure has not been undertaken by thebody which may do so, the Chief Minister shall use his best endeavours tosecure that the international body is informed of his belief and to secure thatthe making of the designation or restrictive measure considered by theinternational body.(2)The Chief Minister shall, for the purpose of subsection (1), take intoconsideration such information and intelligence as he may be made aware ofby-(a)a police officer, an officer of HM Customs, the Gibraltar Co-ordinating Centre for Criminal Intelligence and Drugs (GCID);or the Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit (GFIU);(b)the Gibraltar Contingency Council,(c)such other person or body as he considers appropriate in thecircumstances.(3)The evidentiary standard of proof applied to a designation proposal issubsection (1)-(a)shall be that of reasonable belief; and(b)shall not be conditional on the existence of a criminalproceeding.(4)The Chief Minister shall communicate to the United Nations orEuropean Union or other international or regional body such reasons andunclassified background information as may be necessary to support thedesignation proposal.
Sat Sep 14 07:30:39

We know the regulation was made under 16(e) - international obligations, which the EU sanctions are.

12 to 14 refer specifically to UN sanctions; and the bit directly quoted the process by which people may request the CM to attempt to get the UN to remove a specifically designated ship from the UNs list. It stands to reason the CM cannot unilaterally decide for the entire UN that a ship should be removed from their list.

I'm not sure how from this obvious point that the UN itself would need to make that determination you leapt to the idea this demonstrates the UK makes the decision to specify or not specify a ship - but it doesn't follow at all.

In any case, we know these don't apply as Grace 1 wasn't specifically listed in UN sanctions. Indeed it wasn't even UN but EU sanctions cited. So I don't see how 12,13,14 apply here at all.

Nor do these say the CM can only propose.

Sat Sep 14 07:31:44
Perhaps try reading the law first and drawing conclusions rather than drawing conclusions and then seeking supporting material? Less risk of confirmation bias skewing your thinking.
Sat Sep 14 07:35:09
Pardon me, slightly borked my reply.

"the bit directly quoted the process by which people may request the CM to attempt to get the UN to *add* a specifically designated ship from the UNs list. It stands to reason the CM cannot unilaterally decide for the entire UN that a ship should be added to their list.
large member
Sat Sep 14 07:53:28
"Council for any purposes of a UN Security CouncilResolution,by the European Union, or by any otherinternational or regional body"

"the designation proposal"

The CM can propose that ships be designated and propose that ships be undesignated to uphold EU law.

It is relevant because this is the only way the CM can do things citing EU law. He has to propose that a ship be designated, then propose that the ship be undesignated.

Are you changing your argument from upholding EU laws to upholding some other laws?

Anyone is free to pass any laws they like. But you probably will bitch about it when they do.
large member
Sat Sep 14 08:12:23
The reason you always get into trouble is because the UK government (including its appendii) is stunningly dishonest.

The law provides the procedure for setting ships under EU sanction. Which obviously does not apply in this case as the ship never qualified.

Gibraltar also has territorial law based on EU wording, but that is not EU law. The most practical difference is in intepretation. Gibraltar can inteprete its on laws (including those taken verbatim from EU codebooks) anyway it likes...

So it could twist its way into imagining it could enact 3rd party sanction on an Iranian owned vessel.
Sat Sep 14 08:52:33
"You can see from the images that the oil has ended up in Syria but that’s not to say that there’s a breach of the undertaking [by Iran],” Mr Picardo said. “We did not have an undertaking that the oil would not end up in Syria. We had an undertaking from the Iranian government that they would not sell the oil to any EU sanctioned entity,” he said"

Gibraltan chief minister.
Sat Sep 14 08:55:43

You are looking at the part of the sanctions act that allows the CM to propose to the UN that ships be designated *by the UN*.

This is not the same thing as 16, which the sanctions regulation 2919 is created under, which is the power to specify a ship to enforce sanctions.

Complete red herring.

It's plain as day in the text. Anything built on top of this failure to read the law correctly isn't worth addressing: it's built on a foundation of sand.

large member
Sat Sep 14 11:57:00
By the UN, the EU, or other regional organizations.

I posted it already. Its like I said. Gibraltar used its own laws to impound the vessel.

It did not employ the procedure that would place the vessel under the auspices of EU law.

I am actually not sure Iran had ever planned to sell the oil to an EU sanctioned entity. Give was always more likely (on some quid pro quo basis or another)

Iran is heavily invested in modernizing the homs refinery and pipeline.
Sat Sep 14 12:54:53

Yes, EU regulations are enforced in any member state through local laws.

The point here is that a ship or individual identified as being in scope of sanctions can be - via the CM - requested to be added to the UN listb of specific vessels, in which case all countries enforcing said UN sanctions would automatically recognise that vessel as breaching the sanction.

16(e) - foreign obligation. Which is what an EU directive is.
Sat Sep 14 12:55:45
There would be no need to add the vessel to the EU list of specified vessel, as the vessel had been apprehended.
large member
Sat Sep 14 14:26:54
"The point here is that a ship or individual identified as being in scope of sanctions can be - via the CM - requested to be added to the EU list of specific vessels."


Gibraltar used local laws to arrest the ship. Yay.

It did not follow the procedure that would have invoked EU law.

We should all read up on Iranian maritime environmental law so we are prepared when local laws are used to arrest ships down there.
Sat Sep 14 16:32:34

Simply incorrect. A ship doesn't need to be specified by the EU. The sanctions make it illegal to trade oil with a list of sanctioned entities in Syria.

You don't need to request that a violator of the sanctions is sanctioned through a fairly lengthy process.

You've confused the process of designating sanctioned entities and enforcement.

large member
Sun Sep 15 03:19:02
There is a procedure for specifying a ship and applying EU sanctions.

There is also Gibraltan law that was used in this case. Yay.

I wonder what domestic law is delaying the release of the British ship.


Heard about spear-chuckers shutting down half of Saudi oil production?

That is what I have been mumbling on occassion. If Iran wants to shut down oil supplies, it can do so effectively, permanently, with very little collateral damage, and it would not involve targetting tankers.

large member
Sun Sep 15 05:20:01
We have reached an impasse obviously. But here.

The CM can only impound a designated vessel. The designation can be


The vessel is not UN designated, not EU designated, UK God knows, regional not to my knowledge, Gibraltan designated.

It simply has nothing to do with the EU. Which explains the EU's loud silence on the matter.
Sun Sep 15 07:34:40

Sorry, your interpretation is clearly and obviously wrong.

It's true to say that the sanctions were enforced in Gibraltan law. But it's equally true that the EU Regulation 261/2004 is, in Norway, enforced by some local statutory instrument.

It's true EU regulations are automatically enforceable, but many countries do pass implementation legislation in order to ensure compatibility with domestic legislation. As I pointed out when you eye of the impression that the law had been changed to catch Iran out, the Gibraltar Sanctions Act 2019 was specifically passed because, as part of the EU exit process, the UK and Gibraltar both agreed to follow EU Sanctions regime post brexit, where the EU Council regulation would cease to have had binding effect. So adherence to the Council regulations on Syria is enforced since March by way of local law.

So yes, we both agree local law was used, the question is whether the detention arises from the EU council Regulation or not.

In any case, the clauses you refer to set out the laws governing how Gibraltar may request the designation of persons or specifying of ships by international bodies.

This is not the same as 16, which sets out how the Gibraltan govt may produce regulations to enforce sanctions regimes to which it is party.

Three obvious illogical elements of your interpretation: firstly 12-14 are clauses in a Gibraltan law, so obviously cannot govern EU sanctions created by commission regulation. So you are arguing what exactly, that Gibraltar broke it's own law by not requesting that a ship trading with an EU sanctioned body was itself added to the list of EU sanctioned bodies?

Secondly, clause 16 clearly sets out that the CM can make regulations to enforce international obligations. This was indeed the reason set out in the 2019 sanctions regulations. The international obligation in question being the EU council regulations, which are international for the reasons set out previously.

Thirdly, the reason the ship was specified under the regulation is because it was believed to be trading with an entity listed by the EU. The ship itself did not need to be listed by the EU. If that did need to be the case, let's suppose I'm a German firm and I'm selling munitions to Assads govt (a listed entity in EU sanctions). Your argument is that the German police would first need to get the firm added to the commission's lost of designated entities (at least if their law mirrored the Gibraltan law). This is plainly absurd. The German firm does not need to be made the subject of trade sanctions in order to be in violation of the trade sanctions on Syria. It just needs to be trading with Syria and operating economically in the EU.

Quite why you are so stubborn on this when I suspect you have now realised you got it wrong I really don't know.
Sun Sep 15 07:42:50
Also, the Gibraltan govt cannot impound a body designated by the EU or ship specified by the EU. It needs to first make domestic regulation and then specify it under that regulation.

They had failed to make the necessary regulation following passage of the Act, as I mentioned last time. So any attempt to impound the vessel would have been legally questionable had it merely been listed by the EU. But in any case, being listed would mean that nobody in the EU could trade with the ship, this is not the same as detaining the ship for trading with a sanctioned entity.
large member
Sun Sep 15 10:15:01
You mean they would have had to use different phrasing in the regulation issued a few days before the arrest for it to be authorise an arrest under EU legislature after the CM had proposed and the EU decided to designate the vessel.

Gibraltar designated the vessel. The EU did not. What was done rests solely on Gibraltan and possible UK shoulders (given the messy state of power division between the UK and dependent post colonial shit holes).

Yay domestic legislation. Lets watch everyone make the Oceans a more dangerous place to sail in.
large member
Sun Sep 15 10:18:32
Still no thread about Saudi Arabia losing half its oil export capacity?

I do admit to thinking is a bit more operationally complex than using a few drones, but yah, its been more than a decade since the Persian gulf was the important bottleneck for oil exports. Tankers are relatively hard and messy to damage or interdict.

Transit infrastructure is the weak link.

As demonstrated last night.
Sun Sep 15 10:48:30

Gibraltar specifically cited the EU sanctions, and used the power under 16(e), with the EU sanctions being the foreign obligation.

The process to request the EU specify/designate a ship/person in Gibraltan law is also a Gibraltan law, not an EU law.

So at best you are arguing that the Gibraltans used the wrong part of their law to implement the EU sanctions.

In any case, as I've repeatedly pointed out, the specification of a ship under EU sanctions isn't necessary if the counterparty to the trade is a designated organisation, which it was.

Theres no point going around in circles.
large member
Sun Sep 15 13:34:02
I mentioned we reached an impass a while ago.

I am arguing that Gibraltar did not avail itself of the opportunity to bring the ship arrest under EU legislation, so is simply doing whatever the hell it wanted to.

The ship is not and has never been designated by the EU.

This is all Gibraltar/UK.
Sun Sep 15 16:59:20

Yes, but you are arguing that purely on the basis of Gibraltan law and then assuming that limits EU law, which is nonsense.

The EU council regulation doesn't require a ship that is violating EU sanctions by trading with a listed subject of sanctions to be listed itself in order to be detained for said breach

You've only assumed that because you've misread a Gibraltan law and incorrectly inferred that because the CM can apply to have entities and ships added to the target list of sanctioned entities, this is necessary to take enforcement actions against those breaking sanctions.

This isn't really an impasse so much as you being wrong and unable to accept it.
Sun Sep 15 21:12:56
Does anyone think Gibraltar would seize a Chinese ship based on retarded, unilateral EU sanctions?
large member
Mon Sep 16 01:30:20
I am simply denoting that Gibraltar chose to employ domestic law instead of using the procedure to put the matter under EU legislature and jurisdiction.

What happened is a pure Gibraltan/UK affair with Iran.

Is the EU clamouring en block for the release of the british flagged ship?

Why the relative silence I wonder?
large member
Mon Sep 16 01:36:35
Its just a variant of the duty to protect argument you used to make.

We invoke a higher authority to pass laws and do things we otherwise have no business doing, but will not avail ourselves to the procedures that regulate those things as we are upholding the principle!

In d2p - no need for a UNSC because that is too hard to get.

In tanker siezure - no EU designation because that is too hard to get.

Hence the reliance on domestic law. Which is fun becase it gives us the motive to learn the intricacies of Iranian maritime environmental protection legislation.
Mon Sep 16 04:21:39

Incorrect. The EU regulation does not require any ship in violation of sanctions to be itself listed by the EU as a subject of sanctions. That would be absurd.


Depends if a Chinese ship was going to flout sanctions. They have to date been more responsible.
large member
Mon Sep 16 08:17:45
I am correct. You just don't like it.
Mon Sep 16 08:21:54

The EC regulation itself says nothing about listing.

The supposed requirement for the Gibraltan govt to list a vessel in order to detain it for breaching sanctions by trading with a designated organisation then exists only in Gibraltan law (not EU law).

So we are left with the absurd position where you are arguing that Gibraltar did not comply with EU law because it used what you consider to be the wrong part of its domestic law.

Even though, you know, it's quite clear that 16(e) suffices, regardless of your incorrect reading.
large member
Mon Sep 16 08:43:55
That was never my argument.

I clearly stated that Gibraltar chose to use domestic legislation instead of using the procedure to bring the issue under EU law.

The arrest was done under Gibraltan law exclusively.

Even mentioning the EU in this context is an appeal to authority debating fallacy with no legal standing whatsoever.

This is all on Gibraltar/UK.
Mon Sep 16 09:01:28

Again, the sole basis for you claiming this wasn't under EU law is that Gibraltar used article 16(e) of three Gibraltar Sanctions act citing the civil resolution as a foreign obligation; and that article 14 of the Gibraltar Sanctions act has a procedure for getting the EU to add the ship to a list of sanctioned entities.

Yet, turning to the EU regulation in question, the list defined in the EU regulation is entities in Syria that it is prohibited to transfer economic resources to because they are deemed to have been involved in warcrimes by the EU council.

Nowhere in EU law does it say that you have to get an entity that is breaching this regulation added to a list in order to enforce action on them.

This supposed obligation arises purely from your misreading of Gibraltan law. So your argument that Gibraltars actions were not undertaken in accordance with EU law and under EU jurisdiction are a tissue of nonsense. Article 16 allows the council regulation to be invoked, and nothing in the council regulation requires those breaking the regulation to be listed in he relation.

Article 14 would only be relevant if Gibraltar determined that a ship was owned by a designated person, and wanted it added to the list of entities to which sanctions applied.

You can keep repeating the nonsense as much as you like, it's transparently incorrect.

large member
Mon Sep 16 10:29:48
I have posted my position in several incarnations. It remains the same.

You stand alone.
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