Operation Hugo Grotius
|Operation Hugo Grotius|
Map of the alleged blockade by Los Liberados.
| USSO |
| Los Liberados|
|Alduria|| Los Liberados |
Batavian Armed Forces
| Trans-Euran Command
|Interdiction Task Force |
Operation Hugo Grotius was a freedom of navigation operation executed by the USSO and Alduria to test and possibly lift a naval blockade, claimed to be enforced by Los Liberados in 1675 AN. The naval blockade was said to be between the city of Togafaga in Florian Eura and the city of Augusto in Los Liberados.
A military and merchant fleet from Alrig, Alduria, and Jingdao composed of 40 ships left Nueva Geneva for Punta Santiago and sailed through the alleged blockade. Dubbed in the Aldurian media as the "Freedom Convoy", the fleet captured the attention of Aldurians, who witnessed the departure from Nueva Geneva and their arrival in Punta Santiago on live TV. At the same time, the Jingdaoese Tianchao Haijun stood at standby near Xinrechen. The 3rd Expeditionary Submarine Fleet was ready to launch an attack on Los Liberados population centers, to retaliate in case the main fleet would be attacked.
The same day the operation was launched, government officials of Los Liberados tried to diffuse the situation by clarifying that their blockade was only meant against Bassarid merchant shipping and Union naval fleets which hadn't asked for approval to pass through the Togafaga - Augusto barrier. As the Bassarids were members of the Union, and the USSO wanted to deny the Liberadosians any opportunity to stop either civilian as military shipping in international waters, the operation went on.
The primary concern of the Raspur Pact during this affair was to ensure that commercial shipping was not interfered with by either party whilst in international waters and that the regular SATCo convoys between Arak and Susa along the western Euran coast proceeded with their normal, uneventful, sailings.
The Liberadosan Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores stated that the fleet had alerted the Liberadosan navy prior to crossing the nautical barrier, and that, after consideration of Aldurian interests, the Jingdaoese vessels had been allowed to enter. The fleet remained closely monitored by several submarines and corvettes, who escorted the ships back to uncontested international waters. The Tianchao Haijun declared the operation to be a success, showing that the Jingdaoese navy could cross the blockade without having to worry about "pirate attacks" from Los Liberados. It did however concede that Jingdaoese commercial shipping was still at risk and maintained the advice that the strait should only be crossed in convoy, or via Aldurian waters.
- Alduria's foreign policy maintains a strong support for the freedoms of navigation of all nations in international waters. "Ships flying the flag of any sovereign state should not suffer interference from other states in international waters," said President Alejandro Campos. The President highlighted the close trade relationships Alduria has with Jingdao and other USSO states and expressed opposition to any unnecessary disruptions to the peaceful transit of ships through a key international navigation chokepoint. The President went on to encourage more nations to ratify the MTO Convention on the Law of the Seas, which recognizes the Dyre Straits as international waters.
- Batavian Confederation
- The government of Los Liberados issued a press statement outlining that the Operation was based on erroneous intelligence from the USSO side, and that USSO officials had presented a "blatantly untrue" summary of the nature of the Togafaga-Augusto naval defense line. The government also questioned the involvement of Alduria, since the nation was not subjected to the blockade, and all trading vessels to and from the nation had passed unhindered. The Junta de Liberacion Nacional did issue partial mobilisation and stated that it would wait and see what the USSO forces had planned, and that they were ready to answer hostile actions.
- Batavia: Prime-minister Joachim Mackay assured the parties involved that Batavia would stand shoulder to shoulder with its allies, and that the Batavian Confederation is a "union of brotherhood that will never be broken". The Batavian government issued a decree mobilising its navy in case of an attack against Los Liberados by USSO forces. Though prepared, Prime-minister Mackay called upon the USSO to take a step back, and to abort the operation. In response to Jingdaoese build-up, the Batavian Navy sent 4 Frigates and 10 Submarines to Los Liberados. In addition, Kasterburg sent two logistics ships.
- Raspur Pact:
- A clerical error with shipping labels results in a consignment of forty S-2 Standard Missiles, in AShM configuration, being airlifted from the Talenore Arsenal to Puerto Arcadio instead of their intended customers awaiting delivery in Arak. Several supply chain managers employed by subcontractors working for the Allied Production Matrix have been disciplined for the error. The Trans-Euran Command has written a polite note to their counterparts in the Milicia de Hierro asking for the prompt return of the missiles.
- The Proti Stratia directs the Gold Banner Western Fleet and Black Banner Northern Fleet, with responsibility for patrolling the North Raynor Seas and Dyre Straits respectively, to monitor for unusual maritime and aerial activity in the region and to respond to any reports of Raspur-aligned or neutral (including Aldurian and Florian) vessels in distress.
- Following the signing of the Treaty of Lune Villa between the Verionist Republic and Pact member the Kingdom of Ransenar, Iron Company registered vessels now received the same guarantees of protection and assistance offered to Aldurian and Florian vessels transiting through international waters in the Trans-Euran theatre of operations.
- Alrig honored its alliance to Jingdao by sending twenty sailors to assist in Operation Hugo Grotius. It did not express any opinion on the situation.
- Jingdao expressed its concern about the disorder the Raspur Pact has been in since the Kalirion Fracture and wondered if security among its states was lacking in a way that it didn't even notice a shipment of dangerous weaponry to non-member states. Officials reconfirmed that the Union was merely defending the Union's and Aldurian's merchant fleet from potential aggressive actions of Los Liberados and sincerely hoped that the island state would not endanger world peace by keeping - and using / stealing - the missiles it had mistakenly received.
- Ralgon After fierce internal debate on response to the issue, High Command was instead ordered by the Emperor to issue the following public statement, to the letter: "Generally, we don't care what happens in places that do not concern us. But if Ralgon or allied trading ships flying a flag of peace are attacked while attempting to arrive at other ports of call, we will be more than happy to return the favor. Until then, it seems that Los Liberados and Batavia both can do without our goods until they can sort their own mess out." Separate officials have, without the knowledge of the Emperor, sent letters to the Iron Company warning that hostility towards Ralgon would result in their expulsion from the country.
- Palesmenia After seeing that the waters of a close ally of Palesmenia, Alduria, was being infringed upon, the supreme PDF High Command ordered a fleet of 3 ships to the North Raynor Sea to help ease the situation, and to keep the status quo of having a so called "Free Sea", where a merchant can have no worries when traveling the seas.
- Imperial Trade Union Although it doubted the efficacy of the blockade, which had thus far borne no tangible impact upon the movement of people, goods and supplies, the Bassarid Trade Union nevertheless committed its forces to supporting efforts which promoted the free passage of allied and friendly vessels in the disputed region.
- Krasnocoria: Krasnocorian Ministry of Defence decided not to send vessels in the convoy due to recent diplomatic talks with Liberadosan government officials which clarified situation of Krasnocorian vessels in the zone of the so-called blockade. However, the ministry advised Krasnocorian Navy to join the convoy and engage if it were attacked first.
- Florian Republic: The Florian Republic announced that the Florian Navy would be joining the maritime observation mission of the Raspur Pact, whilst emphasising that its vessels would remain under national command.
- Kalgachia: In Kalgachia the timing of the operation with other events in Shirekeep was interpreted to be part of a wider move against the Iron Company, coordinated by multiple states for bewilderingly opaque reasons, whose next stages would invariably involve a sustained effort to obstruct the company's logistical operations worldwide with a natural emphasis on its merchant shipping fleet. The company's status as preferred shipping agent for Kalgachia's lucrative import-export market, being essential for the transit of goods through the Batavian Confederation, was nonetheless a single point of failure in Kalgachia's otherwise-resilient economic web and the extent to which this vulnerability had been wilfully overlooked within the Directorate of Labour and Economic Planning now attracted the urgent interest of Kalgachia's national security organs. The latter's writs of summon to Kalgachia, addressed to certain executives of the OIEC resident in Los Liberados, were met with the immediate flight of those individuals into hiding along with a hastily-drawn portion of the OIEC's operating funds. Kalgachi demand for the Iron Company's services was initially boosted however, as the DLEP sought to bring forward as much foreign trade activity as possible before the apparent turning of the geopolitical tide translated to operational difficulties. The Raspur Pact's subsequent declaration of protection for Iron Company shipping did eventually succeed in relegating the matter from the existential to the merely structural; the role of ESB-affiliated actuaries at the Casa Club del Comerciante in Puerto Arcadio, who were seen dashing from the premises on hearing the first rumours of Kalgachi unconfidence, was never entirely explained although some reappeared on the OIEC payroll by way of alleged recompense for the release of certain ESB new hires from vestigial contractual obligations to the OIEC.