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In response to the maritime incident that took place in the vicinity of the anchorages off Fujairah, UAE on 12 May 2019, OCIMF and INTERTANKO set out guidance to be provided to ships’ Masters and recommend ship operators to review BMP5.

We refer to our alert “Incident at Fujairah anchorage” of 14 May 2019.

In a joint press release, OCIMF and INTERTANKO state that the widely reported attack on four tankers at Fujairah anchorage on 12 May 2019 appears to be well-planned and coordinated. They further state that it appears that each ship was attacked by a sub-surface explosive device placed by either a remotely operated vessel or divers. Both these types of delivery method are more likely to happen when ships are near stationary or in a very restricted waterway and require a lower level of sophistication than the use of waterborne improvised explosive devices (WBIED) – a type of device known to have been used against ships in the Southern Red Sea previously.

Risk mitigation measures

OCIMF and INTERTANKO recommend that ship operators review BMP5 and consider sending the following guidance to ships:

  • Undertake a new ship and voyage specific threat risk assessment before entering any region where there has been an incident, or the threat has changed.
  • After the risk assessment, review the Ship’s Security Plan.
  • Review section 2 of BMP5, which outlines threats.
  • Maintain a full and vigilant bridge watch for ships at anchor.
  • Implement deck patrols.
  • Implement a waterborne security patrol.
  • Maintain a strict communication watch and establish communication with all vessels coming close.
  • Ensure strict boarding controls are in place.
  • Only lower accommodation gangways or ladders when necessary.
  • Rig outboard lighting where possible, particularly over the stern and rig/use searchlights if available.
  • Report any suspicious activity immediately to both the port and to UKMTO (+442392222060) by telephone.
  • Monitor relevant VHF and other communication channels.
  • Check all fire-fighting equipment is available for immediate use. Make sure the emergency fire pump is available if any maintenance is being undertaken.
  • Keep the Automatic Information System (AIS) on. There is no need to complete the field stating the last or next port of call.

Status of Fujairah port

Gard’s local correspondents in the UAE report that, as of 22 May 2019, the port of Fujairah is open and operating as normal. However, the situation may be subject to change and ship Masters should stay in close contact with local port authorities/ship’s agent to obtain the most up to date and reliable information available at any given time.

Some Flag Administrations may require a heightened security level for Fujairah port, meaning that ships need to implement additional protective measures in accordance with the formal Ship Security Plan (SSP). As an example, the Norwegian Maritime Authorities on 13 May 2019 raised the security level temporarily for Norwegian ships at Fujairah port from ISPS1 to ISPS2.