Dire Straits 207

Vessels have the right of freedom of navigation through straits, on “innocent passage” under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. As it sounds, that amounts to a right to pass straight through on normal business. Territorial waters do not affect innocent passage. The coastal state has the right to establish sea lanes for maritime safety purposes.

So whether the Marshall Islands flagged Maersk Tigris was in Iranian territorial waters is not relevant to its right to pass through. If, as Iranian sources have indicated, it really was impounded for commercial debt, then that would have to be in territorial waters. But for that the crew could not be detained, and the debt would have to be immediately stated and the ship released if paid. Iran is not acting as though this really is for debt.

The Maersk Tigris is however a good example of why the shipping industry is an absolute disgrace. It is flagged in a country with which neither the vessel nor its owners have any connection. It is owned by Maersk, leased to a renting company in Berlin, and then rented back by Maersk. The purpose of the flagging arrangements is to avoid proper safety, crew qualification, wage and trade union regulations which go with a genuine state flag. The leasing is an international tax fiddle. For reasons nothing to do with Iran or the US, I have no sympathy with the owners or insurers.

I rather expect the Iranians are lying about the commercial debt. Iran and the US are playing a pointless, massively expensive hawkish game in the Gulf. At least the Iranians have the excuse that they live there.

Just as Iran should not have stopped the passage of the Maersk Tigris, so the US Navy had no right at all recently to threaten Iranian cargo ships which may or may not have been on the way to Yemen. Even if those ships had entered Yemeni waters, the US would only have had the right to intervene if asked to do so by the government of Yemen. While that government is a Saudi and US puppet, they are not keen for all their people to know that. Giving permission for invisible blasts from the sky is much more deniable than for huge warships.

I was sorry for the two American hostages who were killdied in a drone strike, but sickened that given all the hundreds of innocent women and children he has murdered in drone strikes, Obama finally got all sackcloth and ashes over two American men.

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207 thoughts on “Dire Straits

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  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Mr Scorgie

    Good to see you back again after your leave of absence. I mean it!

    And now for a couple of comments on your reply.


    ““In the light of the above, is Mr George Galloway a trougher?”

    The short answer Habbabkuk is no.”


    That is indeed an admirably short answer. Or it would have been, had you not then carried on for another few lines 🙂


    “He is making a lot of money for work outside his job as an MP. You could argue that MPs should not have outside financial interests but most do so George Galloway is no exception. He is not making this money at taxpayers expense”


    Mr Galloway’s reported outside earnings (three hundred thousand pounds p.a. do seem exceptional in that they are very far above the average outside earnings per MP and are probably well within the highest decile for outside earnings.


    ~”Also, Habbabkuk, you say: “Mr George Galloway MP may not have been asked to repay any expenses unduly claimed.” Do you have evidence that he has “unduly claimed” expenses?”


    I do not need evidence because I did not claim that he had unduly claimed expenses; in fact, I was prepared specifically to absolve him of this charge. I’m afraid that you have misread what I wrote in your haste to appear clever! 🙂

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    Thank you for admitting – finally! – that you are a welfare scrounger.

    A votre santé, as they might say in your present neck of the woods. Drink responsibly!

  • fedup


    Google “delusions of grandeur/Grandiose delusions” seeing as you have asked nicely

    And some more


    According to the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for delusional disorder, grandiose-type symptoms include grossly exaggerated belief of:

    exceptional relationship to a divinity or famous person.[6]

    For example, a patient who has fictitious beliefs about his or her power or authority may believe himself or herself to be a ruling monarch who deserves to be treated like royalty.[7] There are substantial differences in the degree of grandiosity linked with grandiose delusions in different patients. Some patients believe they are God, the Queen of England, a president’s son, a famous rock star, and so on. Others are not as expansive and think they are skilled sports-persons or great inventors.[8]

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    John Spencer-Davis

    30/04/2015 9:45 pm

    You are quoting John Grohol: please, would you mind giving a source when quoting?”


    You’re having the same problem with Fedup as I have with Republicofscotland, I see.

    Kind regards


  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    “I imagine that Habba has a portrait of Thatcher on his wall”

    No, but I would love to have a picture of you which I could plastify and then place carefully at the bottom of my lavatory bowl in order to show in practical terms and on a daily basis what I think of your sort of scrounger.


  • Resident Dissident

    “He is making a lot of money for work outside his job as an MP. You could argue that MPs should not have outside financial interests but most do so George Galloway is no exception. He is not making this money at taxpayers expense”

    So at whose expense is he making his money?

  • Phil


    Not sure why I am asked to blueprint utopia just for questioning the merit of accepting Murdoch’s embrace. You seem focused on bloody revolution. Other choices exist.

    The choice I would recommend is rejecting Murdoch’s embrace.

    Currently, SNP supporters are left hoping a politician and the epitomy of everything evil have struck a private deal in their favour. That must hurt.

  • RobG

    Habba, I live in France, so how can I be a ‘welfare scrounger’?

    More relevent are trolls who, on tax payer’s money, come on the internet in droves to misinform and deliberately deceive the public who directly pay their wages.

    Scum is not the word for such creatures.

    I’m sure the pond life are pooping themselves over what’s happening in Scotland.

    We will win our country back from the pond life, and the sad thing is that Scotland will have to go independent to make it happen.

  • DoNNyDaRKo


    I doubt 3 posts in as many weeks would qualify me as a troll.
    You on the other hand when not collecting your daily shekels is posting according to your masters wishes at all hours of the day and night.A regular 7/11 so you are.
    Well informed on every topic and yet unable to use Google. Have the bosses cut your Google off ?

  • Phil

    Centralised, pro-NATO, pro-Monarchy, pro-bankers and in bed with Murdoch.

    The SNP. Same as the rest.

  • John Goss

    RobG. “Since this thread has gone off-topic anyway, I’ll get back to the first comment made here; ie, all things nuclear:

    Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:33am EDT
    Forest fire near Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear zone under control: Prime Minister

    That must be reassuring to those living in Kiev.

    Especially so if it is the same prime minister Yatsenyuk who revised history for the benefit of his visit to Angela Merkel early this year, claiming the Second World War was a product of when the USSR declared war on Ukraine and Germany. We have not heard much of him since then.

    I notice that Reuters has given his name a bit of revisionism too, and is now calling him Yatseniuk, probably hoping that nobody will Google Yatsenyuk and gaffs, or slip ups or something.


  • fedup

    Well the mission is accomplished;

    Cornwall school pupils banned by parents from visiting mosque in Exeter over ‘terror fears’

    Parents of children at a school in Cornwall have withdrawn them from a planned visit to a mosque over “safety concerns”.

    Lostwithiel School plans to take 91 pupils to the Exeter mosque as part of their Religious Education (RE) lesson.

    Parents of 10 children, aged 7-11, said they were not willing to permit them to join the visit.

    It is about time to force the Muslims to ware a green crescent on their garb to identify themselves!

    The flames of hatred and constant drip feed of bile and discord is paying dividends, hang on till the night of the glass is played out.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Not sure why I am asked to blueprint utopia just for questioning the merit of accepting Murdoch’s embrace.

    Because your posts, while rightly questioning the ethics of The System, are not confined to this single issue, and skate lightly over what you would consider to be any workable alternative..

    You seem focused on bloody revolution.

    No, I am focused on not having a bloody revolution. History tells me that this is a common (perceived) remedy for a corrupt system, and the most likely direction to be taken by blind idealists. And it’s more destructive than the disease, and invariably becomes corrupt in its turn. One more time: let’s hear the alternative.

    However, on the narrower issue, you say:

    Other choices exist.
    The choice I would recommend is rejecting Murdoch’s embrace.

    But do the other choices advance the objective, which is to replace the corrupt system?

    Realistically, I would say that Murdoch isn’t offering the embrace, but his position in the existing system makes it impossible to gain any traction at all without his involvement. He doesn’t like you any more than you like him, it can be safely said, but he has more sense than to let that get in the way of what must be – until all men are brothers and money is abolished – a purely business arrangement. The alternatives being to do your own PR (much money, and/or the likes of Coulson on your side, still being required) or rely on the Glasgow Herald alone (ineffective). I wish I could make you see this point.

  • John Goss

    “Well I rather hope it’s Sky Television where they paid him so much he renounced his principles and bent over backwards to be fair to the interviewer over Israel and Palestine.”

    And Lebanon, of course.

  • RobG

    John, May 1st 1986: the authorities in Kiev carried on with the usual May 1st stuff, even though they knew that radiation levels in the city were off the scale. They wanted things to appear ‘normal’.

    Tens of thousands of children were on the streets.

    I wonder how many of them are still alive?

  • John Goss

    “Tens of thousands of children were on the streets.

    I wonder how many of them are still alive?”

    Chernobyl was the first major nuclear disaster. Though we came close with Windscale (renamed Sellafield for the same reason Yatsenyuk has been renamed Yatseniuk). Now we have Fukushima too. And hundreds perhaps thousands of other potential disasters. When I lived on the Isle of Man they were forever monitoring levels of radiation from Sellafield which, I suspect, is why Tynwald has never approved nuclear power stations. In fact the Isle of Man is green. Sometimes in the rocks you can see the minerals and there are notices saying we know these ores are there.

    There was of course a disaster in 1929 at the Laxey mine which may have contributed to the green policy of the island. The late Stuart Slack, a better cyclist than me, (it took me an hour and 20 minutes to do 20 miles this afternoon) wrote an excellent folk-song about the Lady Isobella, also known as the Laxey Wheel. This is Mannin Folk’s version.


  • Ba'al Zevul


    Laxey lower levels closed in 1929 due to gradual flooding and the incapacity of old pumps to keep pace with it. Can’t find a disaster. Source? Perhaps you’re thinking of the 1897 Snaefell disaster – details here –


    Nothing to do with radiation. Nor are the lead-zinc-copper veins of the IOM notably radioactive. The monitoring of Sellafield was certainly a feature of Manx concern, and no wonder, as plutonium particles were known to have contaminated surprisingly large areas of the Irish Sea. But I suspect the annual HoK budget might be a better explanation for not considering a nuke at Ramsey.

  • Mary

    Killing in Gaza, saving in Nepal: Israel’s moral hypocrisy
    Israel doesn’t have to go all the way to Kathmandu to save lives; it would be enough to lift the siege it imposes an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv and let Gaza be rebuilt.

    By Gideon Levy 30.04.15

    The uniform is the same uniform. It’s the uniform whose wearers blew up hundreds of homes and schools and clinics in Gaza last summer. It’s the uniform whose wearers periodically shoot teenagers and children throwing stones and peaceful demonstrators in the West Bank. It’s the uniform that every night invades homes and brutally pulls people out of bed, often for needless and politically motivated arrests. It’s the uniform that blocks people’s freedom of movement in their own land. It’s the uniform that’s been abusing an entire people for decades. Now its wearers are saving lives for the cameras.

    The evil army in Palestine has become the salvation army in Nepal. The Israeli rescuers in Nepal are certainly infused with good intentions. The reserve soldiers among them told of dropping everything to join the effort. They are definitely good people who enlisted to help Israelis and Nepalese. It’s very moving to see a preemie being carried to safety by an IDF soldier.

    But we cannot forget that wearing that same uniform, the IDF kills babies by the dozens; a B’tselem report released last week listed 13 instances in which homes were blown up in Gaza, killing 31 babies and 39 children. He who did this to dozens of babies needs an intolerable measure of chutzpah to dare be photographed with a baby rescued from an earthquake and to boast of his humanitarianism.Because after all, boasting is the name of the game.

    That’s a fact. Let’s show ourselves, and particularly the rest of the world, how wonderful we are, how the IDF is really the absolutely most moral army in the world.“Have you seen any Iranian rescue planes?” asked a propagandist in disguise yesterday. “A model state,” “The beautiful Israel,” “The Israeli flag among the ruins,” “The pride.” “Our delegation of ministering angels represents the universal values of our people and our country,” the president said. “These are the true faces of Israel – a country prepared to assist at any distance at such moments,” the prime minister said.


  • John Goss

    Ba’al, ‘disaster’ wrong word. Though it was tragic for the families of those who lost their jobs in the depression. Not deliberately trying to mislead. Apols. And thanks to the link to the Snaefell
    disaster of 1897. It reminded me of a disaster at sea, (1909), when the Ellen Vannin sank. Snaefell was one of the vessels in the Line and and begins the Spinners folk song.


  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “All good PR. A re-run of what happened in Haiti in 2010.

    Israel’s double standards over Haiti
    Seth Freedman
    The Israeli relief effort in Haiti is laudable, but it underlines the state’s indifference to those suffering on its own doorstep http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/jan/22/israel-haiti-relief-palestine


    Should we read Mary’s post as indicating that she would have preferred Israel not to have undertaken its relief effort in Haiti?

    As indicating that “because, in my opinion, Israel treats the Gazans badly it should treat everyone else badly as well”?

    What a weird and inhuman outlook!

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Mr Goss

    “Not deliberately trying to mislead. Apols.”

    I see you’re becoming house-trained – slowly. 🙂

    That’s encouraging.

  • John Goss

    “I see you’re becoming house-trained – slowly. 🙂 ”

    Can you do something to train your neighbour, the Toytown Idiot (aka the Sheik of Port Said)? 🙂

  • Mary

    Maersk Tigris is still there.

    The Wall Street Journal sees the situation in $ terms. Murdoch owned of course.

    Plight of Maersk Tigris Ship Is Fresh Reminder of Supply-Chain Risks
    Cost-cutting decisions may expose companies to heightened risk, unforeseen costs

  • Mary

    Another puff for IsraAID on Sky News earlier. Hope no human organ theft is ongoing.

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