Updated 2 August 2019
In response to the maritime incident that took place in the Strait of Hormuz on 19 July 2019, all vessels are advised to operate with a heightened level of security in the Gulf of Oman/Strait of Hormuz/Persian Gulf region.
Recent attacks against commercial ships near the Strait of Hormuz, off Fujairah port and in the Sea of Oman have raised maritime security concerns and identified increased security risk to all ships operating in these areas.
General security recommendations
We advise ship operators and their masters to exercise extreme caution when operating in the Gulf of Oman/Strait of Hormuz/Persian Gulf region and follow the relevant guidance provided by BMP5 and the Global Counter Piracy Guidance, including:
Many Flag Administrations require a heightened security level for the Gulf of Oman/Strait of Hormuz/Persian Gulf region, meaning that ships must implement additional protective measures in accordance with the formal Ship Security Plan (SSP). While the Norwegian Maritime Authorities on 20 July 2019 reaffirmed their previous instruction for Norwegian flagged ships arriving Strait of Hormuz within the boundaries of N25.257° - N28° and E054° - E058° to implement security measures as described in their SSP according to ISPS security level 2, the security level for British flagged ships have now been increased to level 3 in the Strait of Hormuz. In a letter to the United Nations Security Council dated 20 July 2019, the UK Department for Transport also states that it requests British flagged ships to avoid the Strait of Hormuz for an interim period until further notice. Other Flag Administration may advice differently.
The United States is developing a multinational effort, Operation Sentinel, to increase surveillance of and security in key waterways in the Gulf of Oman/Strait of Hormuz/Persian Gulf region. To ensure the safety of all vessels and allow navies to afford best protection of global trade, BIMCO, ICS, INTERTANKO and OCIMF have issued the following reporting guidance for ships transiting the Gulf of Oman/Strait of Hormuz/Persian Gulf region, stating that it is vital, that:
Useful contact details:
United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, UKMTO
Tel: +44 2392 222060
US Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping, USNAVCENT NCAGS
24/7 Watch: +973-1785-0084
It is further recommended that the above guidance is posted on the bridge for ease of access to watch officers and covered in watch hand overs.
Navigational safety advice
Generally, ships are advised to continue to comply with the applicable navigational norms in the Strait of Hormuz, in particular Rule 10 of COLREG regarding Traffic Separation Schemes. According to a statement by OCIMF, ICS, BIMCO INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO published on 3 July 2019, the use of the inshore traffic zone for navigation should only be undertaken by those vessels calling at ports within the inshore area. The reason for this is that the risk of collision would dramatically increase if all vessels both inbound and outbound used the inshore traffic zone. However, the press release emphasizes that an inshore traffic zone may be used to avoid immediate danger, but the word “immediate” in this respect must be noted.
Members and clients should also note the additional risk mitigating measures provided in the statement: