Feeds

Were the snatched Brit sailors in 'disputed waters'?

Renewed Iran matelot-napping brouhaha dissected

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The thing is that the river mouth of the Shatt al Arab is actually miles further out to sea from the high water mark, as we can see by roughly overlaying a nautical chart on the MoD's useless map:

El Reg's scientific Shatt al Arab chart overlay

MoD map with nautical chart overlaid.

The green areas are those which the UK Hydrographic office believes to be exposed at low tide - and it's the low-water line, not the dry-land one, which counts for doing borders up to river mouths. The negotiators back in 1975 knew this, and did in fact specify the initial portion of the line shown by the MoD. The Algiers accord takes the line to a point almost two miles northeast of the position where the MoD says the merchant ship was boarded and the Iranians seized the British personnel last year.

One does note that if the chart is correct, the merchant skipper had anchored his ship in a location where he'd be high and dry every time the tide went out. This is probably why the MoD never chose to put in the charted low water lines, not wishing to look like liars. But in fact the chart data is based only on 2002 satellite pics, not a proper survey; and even if it were better, silty estuaries like this one shift and change all the time. Unless the MoD's helicopter pic of the anchored ship is faked, there's enough water for a ship to float there now.

But the fact is that the ship was plainly on the right side of the 1975 line, which was agreed upon by Iran. To be sure, there has since been a change of regime in Iran and a long war between the two nations; but in the absence of any new negotiations, the old border looks pretty strong under international law. It was recognised after the Iran-Iraq war by Saddam, and for their part the Iranians never made claims beyond it - they just wanted Saddam to stay on his own side.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?