Amidst the worldwide pandemic induced scare most of us have probably lost track of all the other potential dangers which still threaten international peace and stability. Allow me to list just a few headlines which, I strongly believe, deserve much more attention than what they got so far. Here we go:
- Military Times: “5 Iran tankers sailing to Venezuela amid US pressure tactics“
- Time: “5 Iranian Tankers Head to Venezuela Amid Heightened Tensions Between U.S. and Tehran“
- FoxNews: “Iran tankers sailing to Venezuela in effort to undermine US sanctions“
Notice that Military Times speaks of “US pressure tactics”, Time of “tensions” and FoxNews of “efforts to undermined US sanctions”?
I don’t think that this is a coincidence. Folks in the US military are much more in touch with reality than the flag-waving prostitutes which some people call “reporters” or “journalists”.
Furthermore, the US has embarked on a new policy to justify its acts of piracy on the high seas with something called Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) all under the pretext of the war on drugs. To get a better understanding of the context of these developments I asked a specialist of Maritime issues of our community, NatSouth, who replied the following: (stress added)
If a ship does not comply with the request to be boarded, it is usual that the pursuing authorities must gain the permission of the ‘flag’ state prior to boarding, on the high seas and the pursuit has to have started in the coastal stateâs jurisdictional waters. The caveat here is that in the Caribbean – Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement (CRA) – (long name: Agreement Concerning Co-operation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Air Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Area). So, there is an agreement with participating coastal states on boardings and pursuits in EEZs and the like. You can find more on the legal aspects of boardings at sea here: https://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2344&context=hlr and more info on so-called “consensual boardings” here: https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/international-law/the-legal-implications-of-consensual-boarding-international-law-essay.php
The anti-drug/ counterterrorism angle allows the U.S. Navy and the USCG to carry out interdictions on the high seas. Important point to note whether this approach will be taken to interdict the tankers,