The right of innocent passage with some caveats of course.
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.
The UK sailed a warship within 12nm territorial waters near to the main Russian naval base. The location of the event was corroborated by satellite imagery and AIS data. Also nearby was the Dutch warship HHLMS 'Evertsen', (not in territorial waters). Still in the Black Sea is the US Navy destroyer, 'USS Laboon'.
The incident was quickly escalated via the media and on social media. Interestingly, a BBC journalist crew and a Daily Mail reporter were onboard the vessel and the BCC showed footage and gave accounts of the events, (more on this later).
The Russian MoD was VERY quick in releasing information, its version of events, which ultimately caused a flurry of lurid headlines, given the reported spectacular nature of actions, the firing of warning shots, taken to get the Royal Navy destroyer to leave territorial waters. Although the journalist onboard reported that the shots were out of range.
The information needs to be treated with a pinch of salt and are some kernels of truth are hidden away in the mass of posts, articles and reports.( Collapse )