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May 02, 2012


Barry Freed

From the caption about that piece of rock:

This is the biggest of Huangyan Island’s rocks, R2. According to the relevant rules of the International Convention on the Law of the Sea, islands are naturally formed land areas that are above the waterline at high tide. Confirmed islands can be used to draw baselines for territorial waters, exclusive economic zones and continental shelf areas

I'm wondering if that's high tide pictured there and if there will be enough of a rise in sea level due to global warming to pre-empt any potential conflict.


Or, alternatively, a hard night's work with a few kilos of dynamite, and no more problem.

The Battle of Scarborough Shoal, though? It's as bad as the War of Jenkins' Ear.


The guy who taught me the little I know about international law caused an international incident in the Spratlys, by choosing an old wreck on one of the less important ones as a target to exercise firing the Sea Slug* missile in its secondary surface-to-surface role.

A satisfying whoooosh....kaboom was achieved, but not long afterwards a nice diplomatic note was delivered, followed by a nastier note from the First Sea Lord to the senior naval officer in Hong Kong, an even nastier one from him to the ship's captain, and a really nasty interview between him and my future professor.

Which apparently influenced him to study public international law, and therefore resulted many years later in his resignation from the Naval Staff in protest at the invasion of Iraq, and further influenced the Yorkshire Ranter blog in far-reaching ways.

*what an odd creature to name a 10 foot long war rocket, of all things, after.

Barry Freed

what an odd creature to name a 10 foot long war rocket, of all things, after.

I think this should be encouraged and become a general trend. "Action Stations! Fire the Sea Cucumber!"

Chris Williams

For WW2 U-boat crews, getting killed by Hedgehog fired from HMS Pansy (a real possibility) must have hurt extra-bad.


It's Churchill's memo about Operation WATERING CAN, only in reverse.

"Operation ARDENT VALOUR. At H-Hour -1, commando units to debark from HMSS Ooh, Get You and Ducks..."


"Action Stations! Fire the Sea Cucumber!"

It does lack a certain sense of urgency.

"Missile lock and closing, sir! Estimate impact in, oh, about three days or so. Depends on the headwind."

Barry Freed

It may be slow but you definitely don't want to get hit with one. I mean, have you ever seen one of those things? Gross!

"A sea cucumber in Mahé, Seychelles ejects sticky filaments from the anus in self-defence"
Caption from a pic of one on Wiki.

So maybe a better name for an Aegis class cruiser or similar.


There's a Morocco-Spain dispute over a similarly unprepossessing pile of rocks.

Richard J

Before we get too smug, let's not forget Rockall...

Chris Williams

Is Rockall in England, Scotland, or Northern Ireland? This could get interesting.


Flanders and Swann were quite clear on the matter.

Though we're thrown out of Malta,
Though Spain should take Gibraltar,
Why should we flinch or falter,
When England's got Rockall.

Richard J

Inverness-shire per Wikipedia.


The Turbot War of 1995. Note the disturbing Spanish-German naval alliance.

Igor Belanov

Could the Two Power standard still deal with that??!!


I thought Sea Slugs only existed in the "Beyond the Fringe" sketch about civil defence.


Igor: no. Spain's got a Harrier-carrier and Britain hasn't...


There's also the Greek-Turkish dispute about this sad little thing, known as either Imia or Kardak. It's like Cyprus for children.

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