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Since another topic thread has been completely and utterly and despicably hijacked by religious and anti-religious nutters, I thought perhaps we could start a fresh with this latest news.

 

https://www.foxnews.com/world/iranian-islamic-revolutionary-guard-corps-boats-tried-failed-to-seize-british-oil-tanker-in-persian-gulf-senior-us-defense-official-says

 

 

Five Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps gunboats tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday but backed off after a British warship approached, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News.

The British warship was said to have been less than 5 miles behind the tanker but soon intercepted the Iranian boats and threatened to open fire. A manned U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was above as well, the official said, adding that Iranian forces left without opening fire.

 

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US is considering forming a coalition to escort commerce ships. Japan is consider that idea if it formulates.

TOKYO

Japan will consider options if the United States seeks cooperation in safeguarding commercial shipping in the Middle East following recent attacks on oil tankers in the area, Japanese officials said Wednesday.

 

Under the bounds of the pacifist Constitution, Japan will likely have only limited options such as providing logistical support under a special law, as was seen in the aftermath of the terror attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, the officials said.

 

It is uncertain whether President Donald Trump would turn to Japan for help as Washington has increasingly pointed to threats from Iran. But Trump has said that what he perceives as an "unfair" bilateral security treaty should be changed, while denying he would scrap it.

 

"We don't know if the United States expects (cooperation from) Japan," a senior Foreign Ministry official said.

 

Since facing criticism for only extending financial support in the 1990-1991 Gulf War, Japan has been expanding the role that the Self-Defense Forces can play overseas. But the bar is still seen as high for the troops to be sent abroad.

 

"We have a high hurdle to clear if we try to dispatch the SDF under existing laws," a government official said.

 

U.S. media reported Tuesday that the United States wants a military coalition to safeguard shipping lanes from Iranian threats off Iran and Yemen after two tankers were attacked.

 

"We are engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el Mandeb," Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was quoted as telling reporters.

 

In the recent escalation of tensions in the Middle East, one of the tankers attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, a key corridor through which major oil exports flow to the world, was operated by a Japanese firm.

 

Under security legislation enacted in 2015 under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan can now come to the aid of allies such as the United States even when Japan itself has not been attacked, in what is known as the use of collective self-defense.

 

The SDF can be dispatched if a situation arises in which an attack on another country threatens Japan's existence.

 

But Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya has already dismissed the idea of sending SDF personnel as the tanker attacks do not satisfy the requirements for Japan to use the right to collective self-defense.

 

Another option would be to send the SDF on a patrol mission to ensure maritime security as the SDF law allows the defense minister to order an SDF dispatch to protect people's lives and assets, and maintain order.

 

Turning to a third option, the country's antipiracy legislation is also seen as unfeasible with no evidence so far showing that pirates are behind the tanker attacks.

 

"If Japan decides to send the SDF, we will need a special law of the sort to enable its dispatch for logistical support such as refueling," another senior official of the Foreign Ministry said.

 

Following the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Japan enacted an antiterrorism special measures law to engage in a refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

https://japantoday.com/category/politics/japan-to-eye-options-if-u.s.-seeks-coalition-on-middle-east-threats

 

As a point of interest, as said in the other thread, there was a Japanese article dated June 22nd about an escorting scenerio.

http://www.tank-net.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=44002&page=13&do=findComment&comment=1433563

 

中東ホルムズ海峡付近のタンカー攻撃事件から1週間余り。米・イランの軍事的緊張が高まる中で、防衛省は攻撃の詳細について情報収集を進めるとともに、米国の動向を注視している。現状では海上自衛隊は派遣しないが、事態がさらに悪化すれば、護衛艦がタンカーをエスコートするシナリオもあり得る。法的な面も含め可能性を探ってみた。

 

個別対応か有志連合か

 

 考えられるシナリオの一つは、イランと米の軍事的緊張をあおるような商船へのテロや攻撃がさらに続発。攻撃主体が不明なまま日本向けの商船も被害が相次ぎ、航行に重大な支障が出る場合だ。各国個別で対応するのか、「コアリション」と呼ばれる多国籍の有志連合を組み、護送船団方式にするのか国際的に議論されることが予想される。

 

 ホルムズ海峡を通過するペルシャ湾からオマーン湾に至るシーレーンは、中東を管轄する米中央軍傘下の第5艦隊(司令部バーレーン)を軸に「CTF152」と呼ばれる米軍や湾岸諸国などで構成する多国籍軍が警戒している。

 

今回の事件では、第5艦隊が時系列を公表しているが、最初にノルウェーの企業が運航するタンカーが攻撃された当時、米海軍イージス艦「ベインブリッジ」は約72キロ離れた位置にいた。全速力で飛ばしても、1時間以上はかかる。

 

 ベインブリッジはトランプ米大統領が対イランで中東に派遣した空母機動部隊に所属しており、いわば追加の戦力。事件後、中央軍はさらにイージス艦1隻を派遣した。中央軍で3年近くJ5(戦略・政策)を担当した元海軍中将のマイケル・フランケン氏は米軍事専門サイトに「米海軍は長期に及ぶタンカー護衛任務が可能なアセット(艦船)が不足している」と指摘している。

 

◇米、「ただ乗り」をけん制

 

 タンカー事件後、ポンペオ米国務長官の発言が自衛隊関係者の関心を呼んでいる。事件から3日後のFOXテレビ出演や、18日に中東を管轄する米中央軍を訪問した際に、ホルムズ海峡の航行の自由に依存し、経済的利益を得ている国として、中国、韓国、インドネシア、日本の国名を繰り返し挙げたからだ。

 

「自国の経済に与える真の脅威を理解すべきだ」と対イラン政策に同調を求める一方で、「ホルムズ海峡を経て米国に輸入される原油はごくわずかだ」とも語っている。 

 

 米軍事専門誌「ディフェンス・ニュース」(電子版)によると、米軍制服組ナンバー2のセルバ統合参謀本部副議長も「われわれはホルムズ海峡の航行の自由と石油の移動を確保する国際的責任を果たしてきたが、それは米国だけの問題という意味ではない」と、「ただ乗り」にくぎを刺している。防衛省関係者は「情勢が悪化した場合のシーレーン防衛は、米側が利益を享受する同盟国に応分の負担を求めてくる可能性はある」と話す。

 

 

◇海上警備行動の選択肢

 

 では日本はどう対応するのだろうか。政府関係者はあくまでも「頭の体操」と強調した上で、「攻撃の頻度や国際社会の動向も見極め、人命・財産保護が必要と判断されれば、海上警備行動の発令は選択肢」と説明する。海警行動は洋上の人命・財産の保護や治安維持を目的としており、地理的制限がない。ソマリア沖アデン湾の海賊対処活動も当初は同行動に基づいていた。

 

護衛艦がタンカーをエスコートする場合は、船主から航行情報を事前にもらい、攻撃される危険性が高い「ハイリスク海域」を随伴。レーダーやソナーで不審船や対空脅威、機雷がないか警戒に当たるとみられる。魚雷の脅威に対しては、デコイ(おとり)の投下などが考えられる。緊迫した海域だけに、警戒監視能力の高いイージス艦が派遣される選択肢もある。

 

◇存立危機は

 

 最悪のシナリオは米とイランが軍事衝突し、ホルムズ海峡が武力行使の一環で機雷により封鎖されるケース。ただ、戦争は双方にメリットはない。イランにとって封鎖は孤立を深めるだけで、米軍にとっても、イラクの約4倍の国土があり、イスラム教シーア派の大国イランと戦火を交えることが、どれだけ戦力を消耗させ、負の連鎖に陥るリスクがあるかは、イラク戦争で辛酸を舐めた中央軍が一番よく知っているはずだ。

 

 同海峡封鎖は安全保障関連法が審議された当時、集団的自衛権を行使できる「存立危機事態」になり得ると例示された。機雷を掃海する行為は武力行使に対抗する手段になるが安保法の要件で可能になった。

 

 

適用は日本の石油備蓄が枯渇するような事態が想定される。しかし、自衛隊内で「ビックガン」と呼ばれる武力行使可能な防衛出動が下命されたとしても、ミサイルが飛び交うような海域への派遣は現実味に欠ける。

 

 機雷や爆発物の除去であれば自衛隊法84条の2(機雷等の除去)を使える場合もある。自衛隊創設以来、初の海外実任務となった1991年のペルシャ湾への掃海艇派遣も、湾岸戦争停戦後に同法に基づいている。当時、イラクがペルシャ湾に多数の機雷を敷設し、日本にとっても深刻な問題となっていた。停戦成立後であれば遺棄機雷でも掃海可能だ。

 

 このほか、防衛省設置法の「所掌事務の遂行に必要な調査及び研究」に基づき、警戒監視することや、ペルシャ湾情勢が日本の平和・安全に重要な影響を与える「重要影響事態」に認定され、タンカー護衛に当たる米艦船などへの給油などの後方支援活動も考えられる。地理的制限はないが、戦闘地域では活動できない。

 

◇情報収集の段階

 

海上自衛隊トップの山村浩海上幕僚長は18日の記者会見で、「ホルムズ海峡を通過する一般の貨物船・タンカーが安全に航行できることが国際社会として重要」と指摘。タンカーに爆発物が仕掛けられた経緯などについて情報収集している段階だと説明した。海上自衛隊が派遣される可能性については「政府の決定に基づき行動するものだ」と述べるにとどめた。

 

 

◇海賊対処部隊の存在感

 

 かつて米軍を中心としたテロとの戦いでは、海自はインド洋での洋上補給を実施。自衛隊は米中央軍のお膝元、米フロリダ州タンパに連絡官を出し、対テロ戦の脅威情報や各国の動向などを共有していた。現在の中央軍とのパイプはソマリア沖・アデン湾の海賊対処(CTF151)に海自が地道に参加していることで維持している。

 

 事態が急激に悪化すれば、実施区域の見直しなど法的手続きを経てペルシャ湾に「転戦」することもあり得る。海賊対処は日本ではあまり注目を浴びていないが現在も護衛艦「あさぎり」(京都府・舞鶴基地)とP3C哨戒機(青森県・八戸基地)が活動中だ。日本のシーレーンを維持し、情報網を張る上で中東にプレゼンスを置いている意味は大きい。

 

Edited by JasonJ
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The Iranians appear to be bent on retaliation against the UK for their seized tanker. If a target at sea proves too difficult for them to handle, they will undoubtedly turn to lower-hanging fruit in various ways.

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Bit now on the Royal Navy incident here.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/28900/royal-navy-frigate-escorts-u-k-tanker-out-of-the-persian-gulf-after-iranian-threats

 

https://news.sky.com/story/royal-navy-warship-shadowing-tanker-after-iran-threat-11760556

A Royal Navy warship is offering increased protection to a second tanker in the Gulf in an apparent boost to maritime security following a threat from Iran to seize a British vessel, Sky News understands.

HMS Montrose, a Type 23 frigate, is travelling with the British Heritage tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, according to a ship tracking website and a defence source.

The warship is not providing an official escort to the Isle of Man-flagged vessel, owned by BP shipping, but it is providing an increased level of monitoring.

British Heritage, which is able to hold more than one million barrels of oil, had earlier in the day been spotted sheltering off the coast of Saudi Arabia.

 

HMS Montrose gave the same assistance to Pacific Voyager, also an Isle of Man-flagged tanker, for a "little way" over the past day before passing on the duty to another ship in the region, a second defence source said.

The source did not give the identity of the other ship but it would likely have been the warship of an allied nation also operating in the area.

Britain is expected to reveal details about what seems to be a change in posture towards commercial shipping in the Gulf in the coming days.

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The Iranians appear to be bent on retaliation against the UK for their seized tanker. If a target at sea proves too difficult for them to handle, they will undoubtedly turn to lower-hanging fruit in various ways.

 

They'd be better off ignoring the first incident while equipping their own tankers with infantry.

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The Iranians appear to be bent on retaliation against the UK for their seized tanker. If a target at sea proves too difficult for them to handle, they will undoubtedly turn to lower-hanging fruit in various ways.

They'd be better off ignoring the first incident while equipping their own tankers with infantry.

That's a solid way to reclassify their ships as combat vessels, thus legitimate military targets.

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For now, yes. The problem is we dont really have a large fleet anymore, and the ships we have are aging. Its difficult to find the ships to keep pace with all our requirements. I think we have about 8 Type 23's IIRC and we have to keep at least one on station in UK waters to escort the Russians. Assuming another in refit, and it suddenly looks rather tight.

Oh, the 45's are good ships, but they have issues operating in hot conditions, and they have yet to be rectified. But if we keep a Type 23 on station (helped by the RN having a naval based in Bahrain IIRC), yeah, we can probably manage it. The problem comes when we start looking after everyone else's ships as well, which if this escalates any further I suppose is probably coming.

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Well, the Queen developed a bit of a leak the other day, so I think she might be in the body and fender shop for a little while.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-48947455

No biggie though. By comparison Ark Royal was always developing leaks to the point they had to fill her keel full of concrete.

 

Prince of Wales will be ready to do its first shakedown cruise by the end of the year. The RN understandably dont want Queen Elizabeth to go on an operational patrol till 2021, but yes, im beginning to think real life events might interfere with that.

 

I could see the japanese helping, and probably the Australians (they helped in the last Tanker war, including the Kiwi's I think). The rest? Im afraid im not optimistic.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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There aren't that many British flagged tankers passing through the straits of Hormuz and the escorts can double back once the tankers are out of the danger zone.

The danger zone extends across much of the Persian Gulf and possibly Gulf of Oman, not just the straits of Hormuz. IRGCN have a demonstrated capability to operate at least as far as the median line of the Persian Gulf, I don't know about further but don't see why not.

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The Iranians appear to be bent on retaliation against the UK for their seized tanker. If a target at sea proves too difficult for them to handle, they will undoubtedly turn to lower-hanging fruit in various ways.

They'd be better off ignoring the first incident while equipping their own tankers with infantry.

That's a solid way to reclassify their ships as combat vessels, thus legitimate military targets.

 

 

Bullshit - civilian vessels use security details all the time these days where piracy is an issue.

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Supposedly this tanker the RN escorted was going to Basra, before (I don't know why but I can guess) they reversed course without picking up oil, and was escorted out the straits. So yes, the problem area appears to be the entire gulf, not just the Straits of Homuz.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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At least one - maybe both, I don't remember - of the oil export terminals at Basra is under direct visual observation from an IRGCN observation post. The natural route from SoH to Basra is on the Iranian side of the Gulf.

 

It would be a shame if we let the Persian Gulf become a no-go area for British(ish) flagged/owned/whatever merchant vessels.

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Japan's relations with Iran remain strong and will factor into any Japanese Navy deployments to the region. Should Japanese warships be sent there, they will be operating independently, as the quality of those same relations will make their operation in subordination to a U.S. naval command structure unlikely.

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Top SDF chief in communication with US counterpart, Dunford.

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The top uniformed officer of Japan's Self-Defense Forces said Thursday Japan is in communication with the United States regarding U.S. President Donald Trump's plan for a military coalition to safeguard commercial shipping in the Middle East.

 

"It's true that Japan and the United States are communicating over a range of matters regarding the situation (in the Strait of Hormuz)," Koji Yamazaki, the chief of the SDF's Joint Staff, told a press conference.

 

Calling the strait off Iran and Oman "a vitally important region in terms of our country's energy security," Yamazaki said the Japanese government is "keeping a close watch on developments" of exchanges between the countries concerned.

 

But Yamazaki refrained from elaborating on talks with his American counterpart Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also declined to say whether they are discussing an SDF dispatch to the Middle East.

 

Due to restrictions by its pacifist Constitution, the bar remains high for Japan to send troops to the region.

 

On Tuesday, Dunford put forward the idea of forming a coalition of the willing to ensure freedom of navigation in key corridors, through which major oil exports flow to the world such as the Strait of Hormuz, amid increasing bilateral tensions between the United States and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program and sanctions against it.

 

The plan was floated following attacks on two oil tankers including one operated by a Japanese firm last month.

 

Trump has expressed frustration over what he perceives to be an "unfair" bilateral security treaty with Japan, saying it should be changed, though he denied he would scrap it.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190712/p2g/00m/0na/002000c
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https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/1988/may/tanker-war

 

an interesting note showing that in the past attacks against tankers were much higher in number than now

 

If you are interested in the subject Tim, get this. Personally, I couldnt put it down.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Americas-First-Clash-Iran-1987-88/dp/1935149369/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=america%27s+first+war+with+Iran&qid=1562914550&s=gateway&sr=8-1

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The Iranians appear to be bent on retaliation against the UK for their seized tanker. If a target at sea proves too difficult for them to handle, they will undoubtedly turn to lower-hanging fruit in various ways.

They'd be better off ignoring the first incident while equipping their own tankers with infantry.

That's a solid way to reclassify their ships as combat vessels, thus legitimate military targets.

 

 

Bullshit - civilian vessels use security details all the time these days where piracy is an issue.

 

 

Private security contractors are a different thing to uniformed and serving defense personal though.

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