Both sides of the story of the Iranian Tanker and the HMS Montrose.

The Korelin Economics Report

Big Al apologizes for for the somewhat “sloppy posting”. He is still learning.

Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose. (Photo by AFP/Getty Images)

( – A
Royal Navy warship on Wednesday prevented Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
(IRGC) personnel in small boats from stopping and boarding a British oil tanker
in the Strait of Hormuz, according to U.S. and British officials.

They said several
small boats approached the tanker British Heritage near the
northern entrance to the narrow Persian Gulf strait, one of the world’s most
strategic maritime chokepoints.

An unnamed U.S.
official told Reuters that after the HMS Montrose, a Royal Navy
frigate, “pointed it guns at the boats and warned them over radio,” the boats
had dispersed.

A British government
spokesman said early on Thursday, “Contrary to international law, three
Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British
Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz. We are concerned by this action and
continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the

The incident came
just days after senior regime officials in Tehran said that if Britain does not
release an Iranian tanker detained off Gibraltar a week ago, then Iran
may seize a British ship.

In response to
queries, U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said in an email, “We
are aware of the reports of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp Navy’s FAC/FIAC
harassment and attempts to interfere with the passage of the UK-flagged
merchant vessel British Heritage today near the Strait of Hormuz.”

“Threats to
international freedom of navigation require an international solution,” Urban
added. “The world economy depends on the free flow of commerce, and it is
incumbent on all nations to protect and preserve this lynchpin of global

The abbreviations FAC/FIAC stand for fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft.

A 2017 Office of
Naval Intelligence (ONI) report describes
Iranian FACs as small, fast vessels, obtained from China and North Korea or
built domestically, able to reach speeds of 40-50 knots, and “armed with
capable weapons systems, such as cruise missiles and torpedoes.”

FIACs are more
lightly armed and tend to operate in “swarms.”

“Usually fitted with
only machine guns and/or rockets, and used en masse, these vessels are capable
of harassing merchant shipping and conducting swarm tactics during a
force-on-force naval engagement,” the ONI report said.

The British
Heritage, a 160,000-ton capacity tanker, sails under the flag of the Isle
of Man, a British dependency.

Earlier this week it
was reported that the HMS Montrose, which has been forward-based in Bahrain since
April, had been escorting another British tanker, the Pacific
Voyager, in the Hormuz area. That 302,000-ton capacity tanker also flies
the Isle of Man flag.

Iran and Britain are
at loggerheads over the seizure on July 4 of an Iranian tanker, Grace I,
after it was boarded by British Royal Marines off the coast of Gibraltar, a
British territory at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea.

Gibraltar authorities
say they acted on the grounds the ship was taking crude oil to Syria, in
violation of European Union sanctions against the Assad regime.

Iran accused Britain
of “piracy,” and then later claimed that the ship was not
headed for Syria but another, unspecified, destination.
The Grace I remains at anchor off Gibraltar as investigations

A day after it was
detained Mohsen …read more

Source:: The Korelin Economics Report