Tag "Nat South"

Sailing into Black Sea trouble: the right of innocent passage (with some caveats of course)

by Nat South for the Saker Blog HMS Defender’s highly visible transit past the Crimea coastline, off Cape Fiolent, is the latest bout of heated tensions in the Black Sea and in this article, I’d like to present some aspects relating to UNCLOS and consider some interesting issues that have been revealed following the incident. The UK sailed a warship, HMS Defender, inside 12nm territorial waters near to the main

Russian Navy in the Eastern Mediterranean — snapshot of activity

A snapshot of the Russian Navy escorting Iranian shipping from the Suez Canal to Syria. By Nat South for the Saker Blog Back in April there was uncorroborated information circulated on social media, announcing that Russia was to protect the Iranian ships — in particular the tankers carrying vital oil supplies to Syria.  Yet, it wasn’t readily known whether this would be a regular mission for the Russian Navy.   For

Air Mission: April Overview

By Nat South for the Saker Blog From time to time, I gather and compile basic statistics on US / NATO/ Swedish flights principally near to Russia, (articles posted on my blog). The idea is to get a rough snapshot of the activity, location and types of aircraft that carry out intelligence-gathering missions, broadly known as Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance, (ISR), as well as those in direct support of those missions.

Iranian tankers and covert attacks

By Nat South for the Saker Blog The WSJ published an exclusive article on covert Israeli targeting of Iranian ships and shipments going to Syria, going back several years. Here is the headline: “WSJ News Exclusive | Israeli Strikes Target Iranian Oil Bound for Syria” To shed some light on the matter and give some broader context to the WSJ exclusive, I produced a draft visual timeline of notable events,

A sea change in deployments

By Nat South for the Saker Blog This short analysis outlines a recent small but subtle “sea change” in Russian naval deployments that took place recently. Firstly, the list below outlines an abridged overview of the current elements underpinning Russian naval policies to date: The backbone of the Russian Navy lies in its multipronged capacity to field a range of ships, to support its littoral defence and also deploy primarily

Intelligence-gathering missions over the waters of the Baltic, Black Seas and Barents Seas.

By Nat South for the Saker Blog This is part of a series on air missions carried in proximity to Russian borders, (NATO members and Sweden), principally intelligence-gathering missions, supported by air tankers. Flights tracked were mostly either over the waters of the Baltic, Black Seas and more rarely, Barents Seas. The latest briefing follows on an article written back in May 2020, [1] on my blog with several visuals

Foolish FONOPs

By Nat South for the Saker Blog A new tiny twist in U.S. naval activities, albeit one that raises some eyebrows happened last week due to its location. The latest in “freedom of navigation operation”, aka ‘FONOP’ carried out by the U.S. Navy took place in Peter the Great Bay (Zaliv Petra Velikogo), near to Vladivostok in the Far East of Russia. The fact that Washington cherrypicked the location might

Rocking the boat – Sudan

by Nat South for the Saker Blog Not the trendiest of breaking news, swamped by the turmoil of the U.S. Elections, but the Russian government announced (1) work under progress on a draft agreement (2) for setting up of a naval logistics hub (in Russian – see map) in Port Sudan. This announcement is bound to make Western Russia ‘watchers’ twitch, others laugh at the location, (not exactly Havana’s bustle

Heads up – naval sitrep

By Nat South for the Saker Blog Photo op of US State Department delegation putting a foot into Idlib. Kelly Craft & James Jeffrey met with the White Helmets at the Turkish /Syrian border. 2. France News 24 (02/03) 3. U.S. Intel sources indicate… (06/03) Rumour control: the ‘unconfirmed’, ‘unverifiable’ type as usual from journalists & media sources who diligently and blindly act as stenographers. Rather telling that a time

Russian naval presence in Indian Ocean

By Nat South for The Saker Blog I am interested in the way that narratives that shape individual events are crafted, curated and disseminated, because ultimately there is a tendency to focus mostly on specific events and ignore the wider context. Ultimately, we end up with being presented with a series of disjointed events, not really understanding the history or the detailed framing of these events. One such example would

A commentary on the US carrier in Sea China Sea (UPDATED)

by Nat South for The Saker Blog US carrier making waves on social media A satellite image is doing the rounds of social media supposedly showing the US aircraft carrier ‘USS Ronald Reagan’ apparently ‘surrounded’ at a distance by at least seven Chinese warships (allegedly) on 24 September. More details are in this article by Sputnik. According to Chinese media, there were 5 Chinese warships, but this is all speculation

Part 2 – The Arctic icebreakers, FONOPs and capability saga

by Nat South for The Saker Blog In the first part of the series on the Arctic shipping and icebreakers,” Arctic Russian icebreakers – Kerfuffle over numbers, role and expectations”, (June 2019), I started by looking at the Bloomberg article, “Putin’s Arctic Plans Are a Climate Change Bet”. The article refers to the newest generation of Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers designed to work along the Northern Sea Route, (NSR). However, this

Tanker war SITREP

by Nat South for The Saker Blog British flagged ship with only 23 seafarers onboard of Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationality. UK flag, Swedish company. That’s a reflection today of commercial shipping industry for you.  All but in name. Ship operators are already getting cold feet over Brexit, so these latest incidents are going to further undermine operators using the UK as a flag of convenience. Seizure of commercial

The curious case of the tankers

by Nat South for The Saker Blog I have taken the opportunity to look at the recent incident involving two outbound tankers in the Gulf of Oman. I have got some questions or two, (or three) about certain parts of the incident, from a civilian mariner’s perspective mostly. There are various conflating aspects to the event, and questions need to be asked, yet journalists do not seemingly wish to ask

Arctic Russian icebreakers – Kerfuffle over numbers, role and expectations

by by Nat South for The Saker Blog (Part 1) I’d like to tackle the subject of Arctic icebreakers, by firstly looking at the Bloomberg article, “Putin’s Arctic Plans Are a Climate Change Bet” as a starting point to this analysis. The article starts off in an eye-catching fashion, using keywords such as “climate change”, “control shipping routes”. The article is about the new generation of Russian nuclear icebreakers currently

The new Silk route on rails

By Nat South for The Saker Blog This is the second part in a series that looks behind the scenes, at particular aspects of trade, shipping and transport involving Russia. This analysis was partially written back in spring 2018, before taking academia seriously for a while. Historically & to this day the US depends on the Mahan theory of sea route control and control of significant maritime chokepoints for power

Being bullish about Arctic shipping – the Northern Sea Route (NSR)

Being bullish about Arctic shipping – the Northern Sea Route (NSR) by Nat South for the Saker Blog Part 1 The Northern Sea Route, (Северного морского пути) handled a record 9.7 Mn tons of sea cargo in 2017. http://en.portnews.ru/news/251959/ President Putin, in his speech to the Federal Assembly at the beginning of March, stated that he would like to see a tenfold increase of cargo transported along the NSR by

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