Five Britons on a racing yacht have been detained by Iran after the group may have strayed into its waters.
The vessel, owned by Sail Bahrain and crewed by the British nationals, was stopped by Iranian naval vessels last Wednesday, said the Foreign Office.
The five Britons being held were reported to be Oliver Smith, 31, from Southampton, Oliver Young, Sam Usher, Luke Porter and Dave Bloomer.
Could be young posh types but probably boat nippers - not earning much definitely getting more then they bargained for.
Typical yachting sponsorship - go to the Middle East to the rich oil toting arabs that want to promote a western wealth based culture - sort of - to attract wealthy westerners to jail when they fornicate on the beaches. But Oliver Smith, the skipper probably has never heard of Iran so completely under-estimated the threat and sailed into the jaws of a big Iranian Venus Flytrap - the more coverage the longer they'll keep them. They are still holding 5 USA tourist from April this year for similar degrees of infraction apparently.
[align=center]SECTION 3. INNOCENT PASSAGE IN THE TERRITORIAL SEA
SUBSECTION A. RULES APPLICABLE TO ALL SHIPS
Right of innocent passage[/align] Subject to this Convention, ships of all States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea.
Meaning of passage[/align]
1. Passage means navigation through the territorial sea for the purpose of:
(a) traversing that sea without entering internal waters or calling at a roadstead or port facility outside internal waters; or
(b) proceeding to or from internal waters or a call at such roadstead or port facility.
2. Passage shall be continuous and expeditious. However, passage includes stopping and anchoring, but only in so far as the same are incidental to ordinary navigation or are rendered necessary by force majeure or distress or for the purpose of rendering assistance to persons, ships or aircraft in danger or distress. [align=center]
Meaning of innocent passage[/align]
1. Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State. Such passage shall take place in conformity with this Convention and with other rules of international law.
2. Passage of a foreign ship shall be considered to be prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State if in the territorial sea it engages in any of the following activities:
(a) any threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of the coastal State, or in any other manner in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations;
(b) any exercise or practice with weapons of any kind;
(c) any act aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defence or security of the coastal State;
(d) any act of propaganda aimed at affecting the defence or security of the coastal State;
(e) the launching, landing or taking on board of any aircraft;
(f) the launching, landing or taking on board of any military device;
(g) the loading or unloading of any commodity, currency or person contrary to the customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations of the coastal State;
(h) any act of wilful and serious pollution contrary to this Convention;
(i) any fishing activities;
(j) the carrying out of research or survey activities;
(k) any act aimed at interfering with any systems of communication or any other facilities or installations of the coastal State;
(l) any other activity not having a direct bearing on passage.
Perhaps the yachties could have been more careful but the waters claimed by Iran around such politically sensitive islands as Sirri, dotted around the middle of the Gulf, are unavoidably close to any vessel's track between Bahrain, Dubai and Muscat. I know from having operated there that any vessel breaking down and becalmed would risk drifting into them. A normal nation would have rendered any assistance required and then escorted them on their way. Like the white ensign worn by a lightly armed RIB engaged in UN-mandated boarding operations, perhaps having 'The Kingdom of Bahrain' emblazoned on the hull made the yacht an irresistable, albeit unjustifiable, target for an Iranian fit of pique.