Tanker attacks Gulf of Oman

With the exception of counter piracy operations and humanitarian relief activities, have Japanese forces taken part in active operations since World War Two? The 'coalition' in the Gulf does have a realistic chance of exchanging shots if tensions continue or get worse.

Having forces firing shots in anger will be a huge step.

Japanese troops deployed on reconstruction tasks in SE Iraq after 2003 were on strict self-protection ROE, to the extent that they could not offer assistance to any other nationality even in the event of overt attack. It rather irked the Australian Army that their task in MND(SE) was largely to protect the Japanese.
 
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With the exception of counter piracy operations and humanitarian relief activities, have Japanese forces taken part in active operations since World War Two? The 'coalition' in the Gulf does have a realistic chance of exchanging shots if tensions continue or get worse.

Having forces firing shots in anger will be a huge step.
When the Americans occupied Japan at the end of WWII they wrote a new constitution for Japan. The constitution was intentionally written in a way which made it nearly impossible for the Japanese to deploy troops abroad. That they have any armed forces capable of going abroad at all is by massively stretching legal loopholes in the constitution. This of course was a deliberate policy of the Americans as they did not want the Japanese to have a capable military ever again.

Amending the constitution to allow more active deployments is not easy. The current Japanese PM wants to change the constitution, but it's slow going.
 
When the Americans occupied Japan at the end of WWII they wrote a new constitution for Japan. The constitution was intentionally written in a way which made it nearly impossible for the Japanese to deploy troops abroad. That they have any armed forces capable of going abroad at all is by massively stretching legal loopholes in the constitution. This of course was a deliberate policy of the Americans as they did not want the Japanese to have a capable military ever again.

Amending the constitution to allow more active deployments is not easy. The current Japanese PM wants to change the constitution, but it's slow going.

I understand that the US is very keen for that constitutional change too, but Japanese youth has had 'militarism bad' so soundly drummed into them that there's little domestic support.
 

Yokel

LE
Japan is deploying a destroyer and two aircraft (MPA?) to the Middle East - see this from Reuters.

The Japanese government announced late last month it will send a warship and patrol planes to the Middle East, from which it sources nearly 90% of its crude oil imports.

Japan, a U.S. ally that has maintained friendly ties with Iran, has opted to launch its own operation rather than join a U.S.-led mission to protect shipping in the region.

A Japanese defense ministry official has said the government aims to start the operation of the patrol planes sometime in January, while the destroyer will likely begin activities in the region in February.
 
Japan is deploying a destroyer and two aircraft (MPA?) to the Middle East - see this from Reuters.

The Japanese government announced late last month it will send a warship and patrol planes to the Middle East, from which it sources nearly 90% of its crude oil imports.

Japan, a U.S. ally that has maintained friendly ties with Iran, has opted to launch its own operation rather than join a U.S.-led mission to protect shipping in the region.

A Japanese defense ministry official has said the government aims to start the operation of the patrol planes sometime in January, while the destroyer will likely begin activities in the region in February.

Both moving to defend their shipping and also trying to sit on the fence without upsetting either of their buddies? Risky but not unsurprising.
 

Yokel

LE
Both moving to defend their shipping and also trying to sit on the fence without upsetting either of their buddies? Risky but not unsurprising.

Are the Japanese already involved with 'Coalition Maritime Forces' and the various task forces and task groups in the Gulf, Arabian Sea, and Gulf of Aden? I am sure I once saw a YouTube video of an RN warship taking fuel from a JMSDF tanker.

I imagine some deconfliction will be needed with other nations getting involved - such as India.
 
Not much detail at the moment, but potential similarities.

'A crude oil tanker in the Persian Gulf has caught fire, prompting a warning from British naval officials to "exercise extreme caution."

'The United Kingdom's Maritime Trade Operations said the fire struck the vessel northwest of Sharjah, an Emirati sheikhdom, on Wednesday night. It offered no other information.

'Emirati officials said they were working to put out the blaze some 21 miles (34km) off the coast of Sharjah.
They identified the ship as the crude oil tanker Zoya 1 and said 16 Indian and Pakistani crew reportedly had been stuck on the vessel for a year, unpaid, trying to come ashore amid a legal dispute over the vessel. The state-run WAM news agency later described the tanker as unloaded and said its crew had been rescued. Officials with the US military said they knew of the fire, but had no further information.'


 
Not much detail at the moment, but potential similarities.

'A crude oil tanker in the Persian Gulf has caught fire, prompting a warning from British naval officials to "exercise extreme caution."

'The United Kingdom's Maritime Trade Operations said the fire struck the vessel northwest of Sharjah, an Emirati sheikhdom, on Wednesday night. It offered no other information.

'Emirati officials said they were working to put out the blaze some 21 miles (34km) off the coast of Sharjah.
They identified the ship as the crude oil tanker Zoya 1 and said 16 Indian and Pakistani crew reportedly had been stuck on the vessel for a year, unpaid, trying to come ashore amid a legal dispute over the vessel. The state-run WAM news agency later described the tanker as unloaded and said its crew had been rescued. Officials with the US military said they knew of the fire, but had no further information.'


Info from VesselTracking.net
ZOYA 1 (IMO: 9081174) is a Crude Oil Tanker registered and sailing under the flag of Panama. Her gross tonnage is 156852 and deadweight is 300482. ZOYA 1 was built in 1996. ZOYA 1 length overall (LOA) is 330 m, beam is 58 m. Her container capacity is 0 TEU. The ship is operated by ULLIB SHIPPING INC.

Last known tracking position 12th Jan. Other tracking services say currently out of range (or AIS turned off).

1580331801159.png


A photo taken last year.
na19-Zoya-crew.jpeg


Under a different name:
1580332165101.png


More info from Baltic Shipping:
Former namesBBAA1 (2018, Panama)
SAMHO CROWN (2010, Marshall Islands)
OVERSEAS CROWN (2007)
CROWN UNITY (2006)
BalticShipping.com
 
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Alarmist reporting, or the start of a new round of unpleasantness between the USA and Iran in the Gulf?

'A US-flagged boxship has reported being surrounded by heavily armed Iranian patrol boats on Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz.

'Security consultancy Ambrey said the incident took place 16 nautical miles south-east of Abu Musa at 0300 UTC. The vessel is not being named, but it is a feedership outbound from Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates. It was approached by four boats, the occupants of which identified themselves as Iranian forces. The patrol vessels were described as grey and 20 to 30 feet length , with a canopy across the bow.

'The master was asked via Channel 16 for details of the crew, including their nationality, and the type of cargo carried on board. Ambrey said: "No attempt was made to divert or board the boxship. Crew attempted to hail coalition warships but did not receive an answer. The patrol vessels departed shortly thereafter."

'Earlier this week, UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said a cargoship was approached by two suspicious skiffs in the Tunb-Farur eastbound traffic separation scheme in the Strait of Hormuz on 27 March, 23 nautical miles from the Iranian coast. The boats had five or people on board. A raised ladder was sighted. The cargo vessel took evasive action and the perpetrators are understood to have discontinued their approach.

'The incident occurred 26 nautical miles north of where Stena Bulk's 50,000-dwt tanker Stena Impero (built 2018) was seized by Iranian forces last July, at a time of high tension with the UK over the detention of the VLCC Grace 1 off Gibraltar.'


 
Possibly both

Iran may well be in need of a distraction from domestic problems

Who isn't at the moment, apart from maybe the Swedes!
 
Alarmist reporting, or the start of a new round of unpleasantness between the USA and Iran in the Gulf?

'A US-flagged boxship has reported being surrounded by heavily armed Iranian patrol boats on Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz.

'Security consultancy Ambrey said the incident took place 16 nautical miles south-east of Abu Musa at 0300 UTC. The vessel is not being named, but it is a feedership outbound from Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates. It was approached by four boats, the occupants of which identified themselves as Iranian forces. The patrol vessels were described as grey and 20 to 30 feet length , with a canopy across the bow.

'The master was asked via Channel 16 for details of the crew, including their nationality, and the type of cargo carried on board. Ambrey said: "No attempt was made to divert or board the boxship. Crew attempted to hail coalition warships but did not receive an answer. The patrol vessels departed shortly thereafter."

'Earlier this week, UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said a cargoship was approached by two suspicious skiffs in the Tunb-Farur eastbound traffic separation scheme in the Strait of Hormuz on 27 March, 23 nautical miles from the Iranian coast. The boats had five or people on board. A raised ladder was sighted. The cargo vessel took evasive action and the perpetrators are understood to have discontinued their approach.

'The incident occurred 26 nautical miles north of where Stena Bulk's 50,000-dwt tanker Stena Impero (built 2018) was seized by Iranian forces last July, at a time of high tension with the UK over the detention of the VLCC Grace 1 off Gibraltar.'



Sounds like Ops normal.
 
Who isn't at the moment, apart from maybe the Swedes!
Fair comment
Iran amongst others** has a penchant for not just using external threats (real and imagined) to distract an angry populous but of manufacturing said threats.

My initial response in retrospect looks flippant - it was intended to show as cynicism



** Im expecting to hear rumblings about Malvinas, Gib, balfour, American soldier in Korea and the Atlantic slave trade over the next few months
 
Whoopsie! Time for some flag recognition or geopolitics training for the IRGC?

'Armed men boarded a Hong Kong-flagged tanker ship Tuesday off the coast of Iran near the crucial Strait of Hormuz, holding the ship for a short time before releasing it amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the U.S., authorities said.

'No one immediately claimed responsibility for the seizure, though suspicion fell on Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. Iranian officials and state media did not immediately acknowledge the incident and the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet did not respond to a request for comment. The incident comes after a private maritime intelligence firm warned of suspicious incidents in recent days near the strait, through which a fifth of all oil is traded. Oil tankers previously have been a target during the tensions. The U.K. organization later said the ship had been released and was underway under its captain’s control, without elaborating. Dryad Global, the private maritime intelligence firm that issued the first warnings about suspicious incidents, identified the ship as the Hong Kong-flagged SC Taipei bound for Saudi Arabia. It said the 22 crew members aboard were Chinese. It did not say how it knew the information.

'The SC Taipei’s satellite tracking beacon showed it off the coast of Iran in the general vicinity of the warning, according to data from the website MarineTraffic.com. The ship’s owners could not be immediately reached, though a United Nations database listed a mail-forwarding address for the owners associated with Shanghai-based Aoxing Ship Management. In March, the U.S. State Department sanctioned Aoxing Ship Management for “knowingly engaging in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport or marketing of petrochemical products from Iran” despite American sanctions. That area of Iran is near the country’s restive Sistan and Baluchistan province, where Islamic militant attacks have happened in the past. However, they are not known to have previously attacked shipping. The ship’s tracking data suggested the armed men took the vessel to Bandar Jask, which the Guard did last year when it took custody of crew members from a Norwegian-owned oil tanker hit by an explosion the U.S. blamed on an Iranian mine.

'The quick release of the ship suggests Iran realized only after the fact it had seized a Chinese vessel, rather than a Western one as in previous incidents. Iran has increasingly relied on China amid U.S. sanctions over its nuclear program. “At a time when China still buys Iranian oil, and Iran has few international friends, such a move would be highly irregular and would not further Iran’s interests,” Dryad Global said.

'Dryad Global previously reported maritime incidents in and around the strait. On March 27, two boats with a raised ladder approached a U.S.-flagged container ship, while Revolutionary Guard vessels approached a ship on April 2, the firm said. “The detention of a vessel in the Strait of Hormuz would fit comfortably within previous Iranian intent and capability ... and would provide an opportune ‘opening salvo’ in an Iranian attempt to release the pressures the country currently faces,” Dryad said Tuesday night.'


 
'Around the corner' in the Gulf of Aden. Likely just another extortion attempt, but a chemical tanker hijacked and sailed into a port could cause a devastating explosion. Good skills by the protection party, but that's what they're paid for,

'Armed pirates attacked a British-flagged chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday but were repulsed, the ship's manager Stolt Tankers said.

'The pirates approached the Stolt Apal in two speedboats some 75 nautical miles off Yemen, it said, in one of the most important trade routes for oil heading from the Middle East to Europe. "After multiple warning shots were fired by the armed guard team aboard Stolt Apal, the skiffs opened fire on the ship. The armed guard team returned fire, disabling one skiff and ending the pursuit," a company spokesman told Reuters. "A coalition warship [also] responded and Stolt Apal has resumed her voyage," the spokesman said. He did not specify which coalition was meant, but maritime security sources said the vessel had been sailing through a transit corridor patrolled by international naval forces due to the high risk of attack.

'The spokesman said the ship's bridge had sustained minor damage from bullets but that there were no injuries. None of the ship's cargo was damaged. British officials were not immediately available for comment. Stolt Tankers is a subsidiary of Norwegian listed Stolt-Nielsen. Many vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden have armed guards abroad because of the threat of piracy. Merchant ships have been attacked in recent years in the Gulf of Aden and the Bab Al Mandeb waterway by armed gangs as well as militant groups such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Maritime security firm Dryad Global said it was the ninth reported incident in the Gulf of Aden this year.'


 
China has been working on it for.a.good while I know. And how.close they are to that point is something the western allies should be very worried about.

Agreed, it all links up the 'Belt & Road' from Antwerp to Piraeus, through the Suez Canal, to Djibouti.

IMO, this is the one to be really worried about - 'Early in September (2019), China expressed interest in the storage facilities at the Lajes Air Base on the island of Terceira, which is currently under lease to the US Air Force but mostly remains unused. The formerly designated military airport – boasting one of the largest runways in Europe, capable of supporting strategic bombers and heavy-lift craft – was certified for use by civil aviation in 2018.

'The Chinese reportedly plan to install a business centre at the facility to act as a hub for goods from their country, allowing for easier distribution to Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Interest in the Azores goes back as far as 2016, though Beijing has made their intent more apparent as of late, with Prime Minister Li Keqiang recently making a two day “technical stop” at the airport on Terceira while on route home from Cuba. President Xi Jinping also visited the island after returning from a visit to Chile.'


Portugal’s Azores Islands Appeal to Chinese
 
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