...may have been a standing order of the British Admiralty to their sailors over in Iraq should they be approached by a hostile vessel; but I doubt it. I mean it just does not seem like a proper military thing to do - that is to just allow a potential enemy to approach to within boarding distance without at least having given evasion a good try. Did the 15 Brits who were seized by the Iranians try to get away. I have not seen any mention of it anywhere in print or on TV, so I will presume,based upon what I have read and heard to date, that they did not. Now I will wonder why not!
After thinking this through, back and forth, up and down, my guess would be (and yes this is a somewhat educated guess even though I have never been in the military) that they failed to have a lookout remain in their boats, therefore the enemy could approach close enough to effect a boarding and arrest before the Brits could make a getaway. I would not want to be in the shoes of the guy who decided not to post lookouts; or as the case may be, I would not want to be the lookout who maybe was not looking. Of course, I guess there is a chance that there was a lookout who was doing a proper job, but that the Iranian vessel(s) that approached them to ultimately seize the 15 British crew members somehow snuck up on them before the lookout could get his crew back into their boats to flee. Then again, maybe, just maybe, they did not bother to think the Iranians would do something like this, but come on now, haven't they done almost exactly the same thing in the past. The Iranians have a track record of arresting British sailors.
Remember too, that these British Rubber Inflatable Boats (RIBS) came from somewhere, and I am pretty sure that somewhere was a larger boat or a ship. Where was the captain of the larger vessel with the crew of the larger vessel while the 15 RIB crew members were being arrested. In addition there was a helicopter crew that overflew the event, witnessing it. Why was there no assistance from them, at least none was reported that I saw. Of course, I guess there is a chance that there was a lookout who was doing a proper job, and so too was the captain of the larger mother ship's crew, but that the Iranian vessel(s) that approached them somehow snuck up on them before the lookout or the captain of the larger vessel could respond. Then again, maybe, just maybe, they did not bother to think the Iranians would do something like this, but come on now, haven't they done almost exactly the same thing in the past. The Iranians have a track record of arresting British sailors.
No I would not want to be the guy who had been responsible for the security of those 2 boats and their crews while most of the crew members were searching the other boats. My 27 1/2 years in law enforcement doing all sorts of search warrants, making all sorts of seizures (including on the high seas from a go-fast boat) tell me something about the rules of engagement, and the rules of evasion, stink in this case. Whenever we boarded another boat, whenever we went into a location on a search or arrest warrant, whenever we did controlled deliveries of narcotics, we had back-up officers watching out for our safety. Something quite possibly went very wrong here indeed, it should not be quite that easy to seize 15 sailors in a war zone, when the seizing country is not even involved in that war. Someone was, it seems to me, asleep at the helm.
I guess that will all be addressed by the British government later, after the hoped for release of the 15 British sailors, still though I am happy I am not the guy responsible for this. I do not envy him his just desserts, because it most likely will be a bitter pill to swallow.
For now though, my hope is these sailors will be released soon, and unharmed.
All the best,