Lord Horatio Nelson must be turning in his grave. What has happened to the Royal Navy? Allowing a couple of Iranian gunboats to seize eight sailors and seven Royal Marines, in an almost copycat version of the 2004 debacle, is surely inexcusable.
Presumably the officers of HMS Cornwall, a Type 22 frigate, had become a trifle blase in the hot, Gulf sun and considered something so simple as keeping a look out, unnecessary?
HMS Cornwall is base to CTF 158 – that is, Coalition Task Force 158 – whose mandate is:
“………to set conditions for security in the North Arabian Gulf (NAG) in order to facilitate Iraqi economic development and transition to independent protection of Iraqi territorial waters and critical energy infrastructure.”
According to the Royal Navy:
“The task force maintains a 24 hour surface picture, monitoring in excess of 200 transiting vessels at any time tracking any vessel approaching designated warning areas before following a pre-planned set of responses as part of the OPLAT protection mission.”
Despite a Lynx helicopter in the air, it seems the “24 hour surface picture” was sadly lacking in detail, totally devoid in fact of the Iranian gun boats rapidly closing on the naval detail as they went about their work.
The Captain of HMS Cornwall is Commander Jeremy Woods.
“You’re doin’ a heckuva job, Woodsie,” should, perhaps, be Tony Blair’s response.
In Admiral Lord Nelson’s day the Royal Navy was the finest in the world. Today, it seems a couple of Iranian gunboats have the edge.
Filed under: Changing times