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Old 11th July 2019, 03:58 AM   #1
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Iranian gunboats meet match

BBC News: Iranian boats 'tried to intercept British tanker'

"Iranian boats tried to impede a British oil tanker near the Gulf - before being driven off by a Royal Navy ship, the Ministry of Defence has said.

HMS Montrose, a British frigate shadowing the tanker British Heritage, was forced to move between the three boats and the tanker, a spokesman said.

He described the Iranians' actions as "contrary to international law".

Iran had threatened to retaliate for the seizure of one of its own tankers, but denied any attempted seizure.

Boats believed to belong to Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) approached British Heritage and tried to bring it to a halt as it was moving out of the Gulf into the Strait of Hormuz.

Guns on HMS Montrose were trained on the Iranian boats as they were ordered to back off, US media reported. The boats heeded the warning and no shots were fired.

The BBC has been told British Heritage was near the island of Abu Musa when it was approached by the Iranian boats.

HMS Montrose had been shadowing British Heritage from a distance but came to its aid once the Iranian boats began harassing the tanker, BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said.

Although Abu Musa is in disputed territorial waters, HMS Montrose remained in international waters throughout."

The Iranians, of course, have been making threatening noises about capturing a British ship since the impounding of a suspected sanctions-busting Iranian tanker off Gibraltar last week.
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Old 11th July 2019, 04:00 AM   #2
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One problem seems to be Britain doesn't have anybody on its side.
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:10 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
BBC News: Iranian boats 'tried to intercept British tanker'

"Iranian boats tried to impede a British oil tanker near the Gulf - before being driven off by a Royal Navy ship, the Ministry of Defence has said.

HMS Montrose, a British frigate shadowing the tanker British Heritage, was forced to move between the three boats and the tanker, a spokesman said.

He described the Iranians' actions as "contrary to international law".

Iran had threatened to retaliate for the seizure of one of its own tankers, but denied any attempted seizure.

Boats believed to belong to Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) approached British Heritage and tried to bring it to a halt as it was moving out of the Gulf into the Strait of Hormuz.

Guns on HMS Montrose were trained on the Iranian boats as they were ordered to back off, US media reported. The boats heeded the warning and no shots were fired.

The BBC has been told British Heritage was near the island of Abu Musa when it was approached by the Iranian boats.

HMS Montrose had been shadowing British Heritage from a distance but came to its aid once the Iranian boats began harassing the tanker, BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said.

Although Abu Musa is in disputed territorial waters, HMS Montrose remained in international waters throughout."

The Iranians, of course, have been making threatening noises about capturing a British ship since the impounding of a suspected sanctions-busting Iranian tanker off Gibraltar last week.
Not an Iranian tanker. It's a tanker carrying Iranian oil.
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:14 AM   #4
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They shoulda waited for the leaky carrier.



Seriously. Are we to believe they didn't see the navy ship? This was a publicity gesture for home consumption and for attention.
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
One problem seems to be Britain doesn't have anybody on its side.
Yet another gem from you.
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:43 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
One problem seems to be Britain doesn't have anybody on its side.
Not sure what you mean by that.
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
They shoulda waited for the leaky carrier.



Seriously. Are we to believe they didn't see the navy ship? This was a publicity gesture for home consumption and for attention.
One wonders what would have happened if the RN hadn't had a ship nearby.
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Old 11th July 2019, 08:03 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
One wonders what would have happened if the RN hadn't had a ship nearby.
I'd vote for the "incident" would never have occurred.
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Old 11th July 2019, 08:29 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
I'd vote for the "incident" would never have occurred.
Kind of like how the incidents of Iranians placing and removing mines on ships when nobody is near enough to see or stop them never occurred?
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Old 11th July 2019, 08:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Not an Iranian tanker. It's a tanker carrying Iranian oil.
Point taken.
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Old 11th July 2019, 08:53 AM   #11
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The IRGC say it didn't happen and the Brits are making it up to distract from their piracy.
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Old 11th July 2019, 08:58 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Childlike Empress View Post
The IRGC say it didn't happen and the Brits are making it up to distract from their piracy.
Well, the would say that, wouldn't they?
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Old 11th July 2019, 09:17 AM   #13
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It's like any high-profile legal case. Regardless of actual guilt, it's in the best interest of the defense to mount a gradual withdrawal in public statements.

"My client did nothing wrong. We will fight these false charges and win."

"My client concedes some minor wrongdoing, but on the main charges he is innocent."

"My client was convicted on one or two of the main charges, but remains innocent of the others."

Etc.

IRGC loses nothing by issuing such a statement, regardless of whether it's true.
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Old 11th July 2019, 09:38 AM   #14
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How big are the 'gunboats'? Because a Type 23 is a serious piece of kit.
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Old 11th July 2019, 09:45 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
How big are the 'gunboats'? Because a Type 23 is a serious piece of kit.
Type 23's have a 4.5" naval gun, a pair of 30mm's and some smaller MG's, oh and Harpoon anti ship missiles. Looking on Wiki, Iranian gunboats have at best a 76mm for the larges of them. But some have anti shipping missiles, including Harpoons supplied by (you guessed it!) good ole Uncle Sam. Odds of the missiles being in working order? Probably low.
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Old 11th July 2019, 09:48 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
They shoulda waited for the leaky carrier.



Seriously. Are we to believe they didn't see the navy ship? This was a publicity gesture for home consumption and for attention.
^Bingo!^
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Old 11th July 2019, 09:51 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Type 23's have a 4.5" naval gun, a pair of 30mm's and some smaller MG's, oh and Harpoon anti ship missiles. Looking on Wiki, Iranian gunboats have at best a 76mm for the larges of them. But some have anti shipping missiles, including Harpoons supplied by (you guessed it!) good ole Uncle Sam. Odds of the missiles being in working order? Probably low.
Since the Harpoon went into service in the 1970's and the USGOV split the blanket with Iran (arms for hostages aside) after the Ayatollah took over ,anything they have is more paperweight than an operational piece of ordnance.
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Last edited by BStrong; 11th July 2019 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:02 AM   #18
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You forgot the helicopter. It has a range of missile, torpedo and gun options available.
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:07 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Not an Iranian tanker. It's a tanker carrying Iranian oil.
What makes you think Grace 1 does not belong to Iran?

Quote:
Panamaís Maritime Authority said on Thursday that Grace 1, a giant Iranian oil tanker seized by British Royal Marines in Gibraltar, was no longer listed in Panamaís international boat registry as of May 29.
(https://www.reuters.com/article/mide...-idUSE1N21L02N)
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:07 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Type 23's have a 4.5" naval gun, a pair of 30mm's and some smaller MG's, oh and Harpoon anti ship missiles. Looking on Wiki, Iranian gunboats have at best a 76mm for the larges of them. But some have anti shipping missiles, including Harpoons supplied by (you guessed it!) good ole Uncle Sam. Odds of the missiles being in working order? Probably low.
According to Wiki, all of Iran's current AShM arsenal is indigneous production, mostly based on Chinese designs:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equipm...-ship_missiles

The Qader and the Zafar are both anti-ship cruise missiles (like the Harpoon), not based on Chinese designs (also like the Harpoon). But their Wiki descriptions make no mention of being derived from Harpoon designs, much less being supplied by the US as Harpoons.

According to the Wiki description of the Zafar, it looks like whatever US-supplied missiles they had in their arsenal were phased out following the 1992 arms embargo, and replaced with indigenous designs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zafar_(anti-ship_missile)

Where are you getting the idea that the Iranians are still fielding Harpoons supplied by Uncle Sam?

Also, given the ups and downs of the US-Iranian relationship over the decades, why would it even matter if they still happened to have some US-supplied Harpoons in their inventory? As of 2015, they were still operating US-supplied F-14s, but nobody thinks that's worth calling out as "supplied by (you guessed it!) good ole Uncle Sam". We know the provenance of those planes, and their presence in the Iranian air force is entirely unremarkable, except as an operational and mechanical miracle.
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:18 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
According to Wiki, all of Iran's current AShM arsenal is indigneous production, mostly based on Chinese designs:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equipm...-ship_missiles

The Qader and the Zafar are both anti-ship cruise missiles (like the Harpoon), not based on Chinese designs (also like the Harpoon). But their Wiki descriptions make no mention of being derived from Harpoon designs, much less being supplied by the US as Harpoons.

According to the Wiki description of the Zafar, it looks like whatever US-supplied missiles they had in their arsenal were phased out following the 1992 arms embargo, and replaced with indigenous designs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zafar_(anti-ship_missile)

Where are you getting the idea that the Iranians are still fielding Harpoons supplied by Uncle Sam?

Also, given the ups and downs of the US-Iranian relationship over the decades, why would it even matter if they still happened to have some US-supplied Harpoons in their inventory? As of 2015, they were still operating US-supplied F-14s, but nobody thinks that's worth calling out as "supplied by (you guessed it!) good ole Uncle Sam". We know the provenance of those planes, and their presence in the Iranian air force is entirely unremarkable, except as an operational and mechanical miracle.
Yeah, you're right the Harpoons have been taken out of service. I wonder if they reverse engineered them to come up with their replacements?

And I'll keep calling us out for supplying despotic nations with arms, no matter the context. Iran and now Saudi Arabia. I find it very remarkable. Kinda like how Exocet missiles find their way to just about everyone (France).

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Old 11th July 2019, 10:39 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Michel H View Post
What makes you think Grace 1 does not belong to Iran?


(https://www.reuters.com/article/mide...-idUSE1N21L02N)
According to BalticShipping.com, it's a Panama-flagged ship owned by Russian Titan Shipping Lines out of Dubai:

https://www.balticshipping.com/vessel/imo/9116412f

I'm having trouble finding much info about the owner, but this Lloyds' List article says it's a Georgian company:

https://lloydslist.maritimeintellige...ons-over-cargo

That article also gives more details about the detention of the ship.

My conclusion: Actual owners and operators of cargo ships is much more complicated and obscure than I ever imagined. I don't see how anyone can claim with any confidence that Grace 1 is or is not an "Iranian" ship - or what "Iranian" would even mean in this context.
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Old 11th July 2019, 11:25 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
According to BalticShipping.com, it's a Panama-flagged ship owned by Russian Titan Shipping Lines out of Dubai:

https://www.balticshipping.com/vessel/imo/9116412f

I'm having trouble finding much info about the owner, but this Lloyds' List article says it's a Georgian company:

https://lloydslist.maritimeintellige...ons-over-cargo

That article also gives more details about the detention of the ship.

My conclusion: Actual owners and operators of cargo ships is much more complicated and obscure than I ever imagined. I don't see how anyone can claim with any confidence that Grace 1 is or is not an "Iranian" ship - or what "Iranian" would even mean in this context.
I think there is a little error in your first link, the correct URL seems to be:
https://www.balticshipping.com/vessel/imo/9116412.

Your second link: https://lloydslist.maritimeintellige...ons-over-cargo explains:
Quote:
Detained Iranian tankerís crew face questions over cargo
...
Lloydís List understands that the owner of the very large crude carrier is Russian Titan Shipping, a subsidiary of Dubai-based oil and energy shipping company TNC Gulf, which has clear Iranian links.

While Grace 1 has a complex ownership chain, this is not unusual for many internationally trading vessels. Its executives listed on LinkedIn have Iranian university and technical qualifications, or list their names in Farsi, the Iranian language.
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Old 11th July 2019, 11:47 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Michel H View Post
I think there is a little error in your first link, the correct URL seems to be:
https://www.balticshipping.com/vessel/imo/9116412.

Your second link: https://lloydslist.maritimeintellige...ons-over-cargo explains:
Thanks for the correction.

The article headline calls the ship Iranian, but the article itself doesn't actually support the headline. As you say, it has "Iranian links".

My hypothesis is that the Russians have established a dummy ship-owner as a cutout, and provided a tanker under this ownership to Iran for their use. But I don't think we have enough information to say confidently it's an Iranian ship, rather than a Russian ship on loan to the Iranians.
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Old 11th July 2019, 12:17 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Thanks for the correction.

The article headline calls the ship Iranian, but the article itself doesn't actually support the headline. As you say, it has "Iranian links".

My hypothesis is that the Russians have established a dummy ship-owner as a cutout, and provided a tanker under this ownership to Iran for their use. But I don't think we have enough information to say confidently it's an Iranian ship, rather than a Russian ship on loan to the Iranians.
My impression is that the text of the Lloyd's List webpage was actually meant to support the headline, with probably a lack of total clarity:
Quote:
The shipís opaque ownership and operating chain is complicated further by company websites linked to the tanker not operating.
The name of the ship's owner "Russian Titan Shipping" does not necessarily mean it is Russian:
Quote:
LinkedIn lists Captain Asadpour as the executive managing director, saying he has also been president of the Georgia-based Russian Shipping Lines for 11 years.
Asadpour, this sounds like an Iranian name, like (Christiane) Amanpour, the CNN journalist, whose father was Iranian.
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Old 11th July 2019, 12:22 PM   #26
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[wrong thread]
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Old 11th July 2019, 12:58 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Michel H View Post
My impression is that the text of the Lloyd's List webpage was actually meant to support the headline, with probably a lack of total clarity:
That actually seems contradictory to the headline. If the ownership is opaque and complicated, then the headline is just plain wrong to assert Iranian ownership.

Quote:
The name of the ship's owner "Russian Titan Shipping" does not necessarily mean it is Russian:
The article says that in spite of the Russian name, it's a Georgian company. The article does not say it's an Iranian company.

Quote:
Asadpour, this sounds like an Iranian name, like (Christiane) Amanpour, the CNN journalist, whose father was Iranian.
Yes, exactly. Iranian ties. This is not the same as Iranian ownership.

Again, my hypothesis is that the Iranian ties are explained by the Russians establishing a dummy owner in Georgia and letting the Iranians use the ship under this dummy owner.

And again, what does "Iranian" even mean, in such a situation? The practical effect appears to be that Iran has an oil tanker they can use, without being directly responsible for it as owners. And the actual ownership and responsibility seems to be too murky to make a confident claim either way.
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Old 11th July 2019, 02:51 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
How big are the 'gunboats'? Because a Type 23 is a serious piece of kit.

True gunboats, boats designed to be fired from guns, are rather rare. The only reason they're still around at all is that the 6-inch ones proved, in Korea, to be surprisingly effective against high-altitude aircraft.
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Old 11th July 2019, 03:09 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
True gunboats, boats designed to be fired from guns, are rather rare. The only reason they're still around at all is that the 6-inch ones proved, in Korea, to be surprisingly effective against high-altitude aircraft.
This reads like you are saying six-inch boats, fired from guns, are kept around because they're effective against high-altitude aircraft.

This is either a really weird joke, or a really bad stroke.
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Old 11th July 2019, 03:29 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
This reads like you are saying six-inch boats, fired from guns, are kept around because they're effective against high-altitude aircraft.

This is either a really weird joke, or a really bad stroke.

I know it doesn't make a lot of sense. After all, a brigantine is still technically a ship, not a boat, even if it's six inches across and fired from a gun. (You can still find decorative replicas of the bottle-shaped cartridges in gift shops). But calling them "gunships" misled military planners into thinking they were some sort of helicopter, so "gunboats" stuck.

It's the gaff-rigged mains'l that made them so effective against MiG-15s. Friendly fire was an issue for them in crowded airspace, though. A defect in the magnetic position sensor often caused them to mutiny and go pirate.
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Old 11th July 2019, 03:48 PM   #31
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Ah. You're talking about ammunition for boat guns. Stroke it is!
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Old 11th July 2019, 04:17 PM   #32
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If it is Panamanian Flagged then it is not an Iranian ship.

For regulatory and legal purposes it is a Panamanian ship whoever the managing company is.
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Old 11th July 2019, 04:23 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
If it is Panamanian Flagged then it is not an Iranian ship.

For regulatory and legal purposes it is a Panamanian ship whoever the managing company is.
Panama says they dropped it from their registry a little while ago.

But I don't know how flagging works, and what the ship's nationality becomes when its flag of convenience gets revoked.

Also, given that flags of convenience are a thing, does Panamanian registry really mean a Panamanian ship?

Technically, on paper, yes. But it seems like the whole point of flagging is to carry out some kind of shell game or misdirection. So this seems like a case of technically correct being the worst kind of correct. Knowing that it's "Panamanian" doesn't actually give us useful information about who's actually in charge of it.
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Old 11th July 2019, 05:47 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Panama says they dropped it from their registry a little while ago.

But I don't know how flagging works, and what the ship's nationality becomes when its flag of convenience gets revoked.

Also, given that flags of convenience are a thing, does Panamanian registry really mean a Panamanian ship?

Technically, on paper, yes. But it seems like the whole point of flagging is to carry out some kind of shell game or misdirection. So this seems like a case of technically correct being the worst kind of correct. Knowing that it's "Panamanian" doesn't actually give us useful information about who's actually in charge of it.
Most owners register their ships in either Panama, Malta, Marshall Islands, or Liberia. You have to register them in a country, or you will be denied port access. Why those four? Because they have lax regulations, and they let anyone register their for a fee.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_convenience

If you see a ship flying the Panamanian flag, its almost certainly not really Panamanian, ie not built there, not crewed by Panamanians, and not owned or operated by a Panamanian country. I used to see the oil tankers come in when i lived in SE Texas and wondered about that.

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Old 11th July 2019, 05:56 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I know it doesn't make a lot of sense. After all, a brigantine is still technically a ship, not a boat, even if it's six inches across and fired from a gun. (You can still find decorative replicas of the bottle-shaped cartridges in gift shops). But calling them "gunships" misled military planners into thinking they were some sort of helicopter, so "gunboats" stuck.

It's the gaff-rigged mains'l that made them so effective against MiG-15s. Friendly fire was an issue for them in crowded airspace, though. A defect in the magnetic position sensor often caused them to mutiny and go pirate.
In the age of sail, no it wasn't. A brig was though, since she had a square mainsail on the gaff. Or maybe I've forgotten what I learned from reading Aubrey-Maturin. Or the author was wrong.
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Old 11th July 2019, 06:03 PM   #36
theprestige
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Most owners register their ships in either Panama, Malta, Marshall Islands, or Liberia. You have to register them in a country, or you will be denied port access. Why those four? Because they have lax regulations, and they let anyone register their for a fee.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_convenience

If you see a ship flying the Panamanian flag, its almost certainly not really Panamanian, ie not built there, not crewed by Panamanians, and not owned or operated by a Panamanian country. I used to see the oil tankers come in when i lived in SE Texas and wondered about that.
Exactly. So saying "it's registered in Panama; it's a Panamanian ship" doesn't really tell us anything. Might as well say, "it's a ship".
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Old 11th July 2019, 06:23 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Exactly. So saying "it's registered in Panama; it's a Panamanian ship" doesn't really tell us anything. Might as well say, "it's a ship".
Yes, a ships country of registry is pretty close to meaningless. It would be nice if something was done about these flag of convenience countries. Like, hold them liable if one of "their" ships breaks international sanctions maybe.

In reality the ship is Russian/Iranian. Which one really, we may never know. It's registered in Panama and they don't require much information from the operator.
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Old 11th July 2019, 06:51 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Thanks for the correction.

The article headline calls the ship Iranian, but the article itself doesn't actually support the headline. As you say, it has "Iranian links".

My hypothesis is that the Russians have established a dummy ship-owner as a cutout, and provided a tanker under this ownership to Iran for their use. But I don't think we have enough information to say confidently it's an Iranian ship, rather than a Russian ship on loan to the Iranians.
That'd be quite a "loan". The financing and ownership and operations of ships are complex as hell. There's nothing that different in this transaction than thousands of others. There's also nothing that clear about the ownership, but that's a feature, not a bug. Shipowners are not necessarily ship operators. Proving ownership does nothing to prove who's operating the vessel, as owners let their vessels out to operating companies under long term charter.

A ship like this one, laid down in the late 80s, COULD have been to order of Titan, and turned over to same. Or it could've been a venture by Hyundai to just put out a crude carrier and assume the could find a market for it.

Shipowners are apolitical to the point of anarchy sometimes. The Georgian connection might mean something, might not. I could launch an enquiry in Athens today for an obvious vessel to service North Korea and there would be ten takers who'd explore the deal. A charter is a charter. They want the income.
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Old 11th July 2019, 09:16 PM   #39
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Lol. As if Iran would have any interest in provokoing a war against the US and assorted allies.

This is "Saddam has WMD's" all over again. Are you "skeptics" going to fall for it again? Oh, wait... You are, aren't you...

Keep licking those boots.
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Old 12th July 2019, 02:21 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
In the age of sail, no it wasn't. A brig was though, since she had a square mainsail on the gaff. Or maybe I've forgotten what I learned from reading Aubrey-Maturin. Or the author was wrong.
If you want to get technical about the 'age of sail' a Brig is a Brig, two masted square sail. A ship has 3 masts all square sail.

A brig with for and aft sails on the sternmost mast is a brigantine, A ship with fore and aft sails on sternmost mast is a barque (Or Bark). Not to be confused with the 'spanker' sail which is on the sternmost mast of a brig or ship but alongside the square sails.
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