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Iranian Oil Tanker Struck By 2 Missiles Near Saudi Port

Iranian Oil Tanker Struck By 2 Missiles Near Saudi Port 

Many questions remained unanswered early Friday after an attack on an Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea sent oil prices higher, in the latest attack on energy-industry infrastructure in an increasingly volatile part of the world. According to the New York Times, a fire erupted on an Iranian oil tanker about 60 miles from the Port of Jeddah on Friday after the tanker’s two major tanks were struck by missiles, causing an oil spill.

No crew members were hurt and the ship is reportedly in stable condition, according to Iranian state news media. The National Iranian Oil Company, which owns the tanker, said the ship was struck at 5 am local time and 5:20 am local time. Iranian officials said Friday that the incident was “an act of terrorism”, but they insisted that the ship had suffered minimal damage and that only a small amount of oil had spilled into the ocean. The Iranians also denied that the ship had caught fire, despite photos purportedly depicting the blaze.


#BREAKING: There is No longer fire & oil leakage in #Iran‘s oil tanker #SABITI. Images taken an hour ago show the oiler in #RedSea after changing its course. There are two possibilities behind the two explosions in the ship: 1-#SaudiArabia‘s attack 2-#Israel Navy attack.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Iranian media said “technical experts” are still investigating the cause of the explosion, though Iranian state media initially blamed Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom, meanwhile, denied any responsibility for the attack. However, according to conflicting reports, the National Iranian Oil Company denied that Saudi Arabia, Iran’s archrival in the region, was behind the attack, and instead pointed the finger toward Israel.

Another inconsistency emerged when Iran said a tanker known as the Sabiti had been hit. But the ship-tracking website Marine Traffic shows the vessel hasn’t transmitted any location data since mid-August.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iranian Tanker Showdown Heads To Turkey

Iranian Tanker Showdown Heads To Turkey

The Iranian tanker which had been detained for the past five weeks in Gilbraltar has suddenly switched its ship data to show it is headed to a Turkish port, instead of arriving at waters off southern Greece, as previously planned. 

Reuters has cited real-time ship tracking website MarineTraffic to show the change in the Adrian Darya’s (formerly called Grace 1) destination. This after the US State Department threatened that should Greece provide any aid or facilities to the vessel carrying 2.1 million barrels of Iranian oil, it would be tantamount to “material support to terrorism”. 

The Unites States says the tanker is controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and thus deems any state’s interaction with it support of a formally designated terrorist group. There’s still an active US seizure warrant for the vessel. 

The Adrian Darya (formerly called Grace 1) supertanker’s destination is now southern Turkey. File image.

While the vessel never planned to actually enter a Greek port, listed as the port of Kalamata — especially given the overladen supertanker sits too low in the water — it’s been widely reported that a ship-to-ship transfer of the oil was to occur off its southern coast. 

A US Statement Department statement issued Monday had warned Greece’s help could be considered “providing material support to a US-designated foreign terrorist organization” — this according to a State Department official who spoke to Reuters.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran Warns US: Don’t Interfere With Tanker’s Passage, Mulls Naval Escort

Iran Warns US: Don’t Interfere With Tanker’s Passage, Mulls Naval Escort

With the Grace 1 now released after two failed attempts of Washington to bring the Iranian tanker under US custody, since renamed the Adrian Darya and flying the Iranian flag, Tehran officials are still refusing to confirm its ultimate destination where it will offload its 2.1 million barrels of oil.

On Monday Iran’s foreign ministry issued new warnings to the United States not to mount any new attempt to seize the tanker. “If this is done or even stated, it is a threat to free shipping,” a spokesman said. “Through its official channels, and especially the Swiss embassy, Iran has warned U.S. officials not to make the mistake of doing so, as they face bad consequences.”

….and there she goes! After 46 days in Gibraltar Waters sparking an international incident with Iran, the Adrian Darya, formerly the Grace 1, is leaving…

Embedded video

Per a breaking Bloomberg report, Iran issued a formal warning to the US via Switzerland to not interfere with the ship’s passage through international waters. 

Furthermore, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said at a press conference in Helsinki while attending diplomatic meetings in Finland that Iran cannot be “very transparent” about the tanker’s destination due to US sanctions

He said the US is trying “bully others from purchasing our oil” but expressed hope the Gibraltar court’s release of the tanker would serve to deescalate tensions, according to Bloomberg

The Adrian Darya’s shipping tracking data shows it intends to head to Kalamata, Greece, with an arrival date of Aug. 25, according to reports, where it’s likely to change crew and get fresh supplies. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran Seizes Foreign Oil Tanker Accused Of Smuggling Fuel

Iran Seizes Foreign Oil Tanker Accused Of Smuggling Fuel

In what will be seen as another escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf on July 31, adding to rising concerns about the safety of shipping in a region crucial to oil exports.

The vessel – the third foreign ship seized by Iran in the Gulf since July 14 in response to a UK seizure of Iran’s own ship – is suspected of smuggling a large volume of fuel, the Guards said on their Sepah News portal according to Bloomberg. They did not, however, give any details about the flag or nationality of the ship or its operator.

The ship’s seizure took place last Wednesday, Sepah News, the Revolutionary Guard’s official news service, reported, a day after United Arab Emirates officials traveled to Iran to discuss maritime border cooperation and the flow of shipping traffic, including illegal movements.

The ship was carrying 700,000 liters (4,403 barrels) of smuggled fuel when it was seized near Farsi Island in the western part of the Gulf, off Iran’s southwestern coast, Sepah News reported. The island is located about 400 miles (640 kilometers) from the Strait of Hormuz, the volatile center of Iran’s standoff with the West in recent weeks. Iran’s state-run Press TV reported that the seized ship is an Iraqi tanker that was delivering the fuel to some Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian state news agency IRNA reported that a video of the moment the vessel was seized showed it was Iraqi, although as the WSJ notes, maritime confrontations between Iran and Iraq are considered rare. The Iraqi ship’s seizure would follow July’s visit to Tehran by Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who has sought to ease tensions between the U.S. and Iran, both close allies of Iraq.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Tanker Seizures and the Threat to the Global Economy from Resurgent Imperialism

Tanker Seizures and the Threat to the Global Economy from Resurgent Imperialism 


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.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UK Holds Crisis Meeting After Tanker Seizure As Armed Aircraft Protects US Cargo Ship In Gulf

UK Holds Crisis Meeting After Tanker Seizure As Armed Aircraft Protects US Cargo Ship In Gulf

British officials are scrambling after two UK tankers were captured by Iran in one dramatic day in the gulf — or rather we should clarify that the Stena Impero is UK flagged but not owned by a UK company (the owner ‘Stena Bulk’ is based in Sweden), while the Mesdar is Liberian flagged but is in fact owned by a UK company.

However, Iranian state media is denying that the Liberian flagged, UK-owned tanker captured is still being held, with new reports it’s been released, per the following wire updates: 

Norbulk Shipping UK says Liberian registered vessel Mesdar was boarded by armed personnel at approximately 17:30 BST on Friday.

…Norbulk says armed guards have left and the vessel is now free to continue to voyage, crew safe and well.   

The two tankers seized Friday, via The Telegraph.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt voiced that Britain is “extremely concerned” by the “unacceptable” seizure of the two vessels IRGC forces in the Strait of Hormuz. “I will shortly attend a COBR meeting to review what we know and what we can do to swiftly secure the release of the two vessels,” he said in reference to a Cabinet Office Briefing Room meeting over the major crisis, which is equivalent to the National Security Council’s ‘situation room’ meetings. 

“Their crews comprise a range of nationalities, but we understand there are no British citizens on board either ship,” Hunt continued, according to the AP. “These seizures are unacceptable. It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region.”

Meanwhile the UK Chamber of Shipping also said it “condemn unreservedly” the capture of the British-owned vessel, but it remains unclear the precise order of the pair of tankers’ capture.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran Seizes UK Tanker For “Violating International Regulations”

Iran Seizes UK Tanker For “Violating International Regulations”

A British flagged tanker has been seized by Iran as it was heading toward Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. The vessel has been identified as the ‘Stena Impero’ which according to public tracking data was expected at the port of Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia; however, on Friday it dramatically veered off course and began sailing directly into Iranian waters

Iran state media has confirmed the IRGC announced it has “captured a British tanker in the Persian Gulf” because the vessel was “violating international regulations”. CNN is reporting that US officials have confirmed Iran captured the British vessel in the Strait of Hormuz. Tanker tracker republished in UK Defence Journal showing the Stena Impero erratically changing course toward Iran on Friday. 

The UK Defence Journal first reported based on satellite tracking: “The British flagged ‘Stena Impero’ has taken a very sudden turn into Iranian waters despite her original destination being Saudi Arabia, according to data relayed by maritime tracking services.”

“The vessel is now apparently heading to Qeshm in Iran but had been originally sailing towards Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia,” according to the breaking report

Crucially, this comes just as UK officials have confirmed authorties in Gibraltar will detain the tanker ‘Grace 1’ – first seized early this month by UK Royal Marines – for another 30 days

UK-flagged Stena Impero, via MarineTraffic.com

Iran had promised to retaliate in kind, following the confirmed detention of a UAE-based Panamanian flagged vessel, the Riah, this week. 

Oil prices spiked on the news

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Egypt Seizes Tanker Carrying Iranian Crude

Egypt Seizes Tanker Carrying Iranian Crude

Tehran’s threats of retaliation against the UK for seizing a tanker carrying Iranian crude oil for export have prompted a British vessel to shelter in the Gulf, but the rest of the world doesn’t seem to be taking them too seriously.

Tanker

Citing local press reports, Middle East Monitor said Tuesday that a Ukrainian tanker carrying Iranian oil as it passed through the Suez Canal ten days ago was seized by the Egyptian government, just as Egypt’s State Security Criminal Court was sentencing six people to lengthy jail terms allegedly for spying for Iran.

Those defendants have all been sentenced to between 15 and 25 years in jail, a $30,000 fine and the confiscation of their computers and phones.

Egyptian Al-Azhar Professor Alaa Moawad, who was present at the trial on Sunday, was accused of harming Egypt’s national interests and receiving money to spread Iranian Shiism in Sunni Egypt by launching a website, issuing publications and attracting recruits.

British Forces Seize Oil Tanker for Busting Syria Sanctions

Egypt is a staunch ally of the US, and as a Sunni-majority country, would naturally align with the UAE and Saudi Arabia in their efforts to contain Iran. Egypt also supports the Saudi-backed coalition in Yemen that is fighting to retain control in that country’s brutal civil war. Cairo has  condemned the Houthis for the recent spate of attacks on Saudi infrastructure that have inflamed tensions in the region.

Washington and Riyadh have blamed Iran for a series of attacks on oil tankers in and around the Strait of Hormuz, though there is somedisagreement on this subject.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

British Oil Tanker Seeks Shelter Over Fears It Could Be Seized By Iran

British Oil Tanker Seeks Shelter Over Fears It Could Be Seized By Iran 

After a former IRGC commander exhorted his government to take a British oil tanker hostage following the seizure by Royal Marines last week of a vessel hauling Iranian crude, an oil tanker run by British Petroleum is sheltering in the Persian Gulf over fears it could soon be seized by Iran in a tit-for-tat response, Bloomberg reports.

Tanker

British Heritage

The tanker, which is named ‘British Heritage’, is able to haul about 1 million barrels of crude. It had been sailing toward Iraq’s Basrah oil terminal when it made an abrupt U-turn over the weekend.

The ship is now hanging out near Saudi Arabia’s coast because BP is reportedly worried that the vessel could be targeted if Iran seeks to retaliate for the seizure of the tanker Grace 1 on Thursday. 

The Grace 1 was seized after being caught transporting Iranian crude, in breach of sanctions.

British Heritage, registered in the Isle of Man and flying under the British flag, had been chartered by Royal Dutch Shell Plc to transport crude from Basrah to northwest Europe. However, it never collected its cargo and the booking was canceled.

Of course, the ship won’t be able to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, the chokepoint through which about 1/3 of global oil shipped by sea moves, without sailing close to Iran’s coast. It’s unclear how long the ship will be sheltering for.

Map

Iran’s deputy foreign minister said on Sunday he considered the seizure of Grace 1 to be an ‘act of piracy,’ while a former leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said the Islamic Republic should take a British tanker in response.

While it’s owners apparently believe the British Heritage to be ‘safe’ in Saudi custody, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was conveniently and mysteriously ‘bombed’ like the handful of other tankers over the past few months – an incident that the UK and KSA would have no problem pinning on the Iranians.

The Winds are Shifting

The Winds are Shifting

Odilon Redon The Birth of Venus II c.1910

How do you define terror? Perhaps, because of the way the term has evolved in the English language, one wouldn’t call the west ‘terrorists’ per se, but ‘we’ are certainly spreading terror and terrorizing very large groups of people. Yeah, bring on the tanks and parade them around town. Add a marching band that plays some war tunes.

The ‘official’ storyline : at the request of the US, Gibraltar police and UK marines have seized an oil tanker in Gibraltar. The super-tanker, 1000 feet (330 meters) long, carrying 2 million barrels, had stopped there after sailing all around the Cape of Good Hope instead of taking the Suez canal on its way, ostensibly, from Iran to Syria.

And, according to the storyline as presented to and in the western press, because the EU still has sanctions on Iran, the British seized the ship. Another little detail I really appreciate is that Spain’s acting foreign minister, Josep Borrell, said Madrid was looking into the seizure and how it may affect Spanish sovereignty since Spain does not recognize the waters around Gibraltar as British.

That Borrell guy is the newly picked EU foreign policy czar, and according to some sources he’s supportive of Iran and critical of Israel. Them’s the webs we weave. He’s certainly in favor of Palestinian statehood. But we’re wandering…

Why did the tanker take that giant detour along the African coastline? Because potential problems were anticipated in the Suez canal. But also: why dock in Gibraltar? Because no problems were anticipated there. However, the US had been following the ship all along, and set this up.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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