Security advisory, 13 June 2019 attacks on tankers East of Strait for Hormuz

Incident description

According to reports from credible sources, two tankers were attacked in the morning hours of 13 June 2019, in international waters just east of the Strait of Hormuz.

According to these same reports, the ships in question were:

Front Altair (Frontline)
MO:  9745902
Flag:  Marshall Islands
Deadweight:  109894 t

Kokuka Courageous (Bernhard Schulte Singapore)
IMO:  9568495
Flag:  Panama
AIS Vessel Type:  Tanker - Hazard B
Deadweight:  27000 t

BIMCO’s overall assessment

It is still early, many facts are likely to emerge in the coming hours and days, and there is currently no reliable assessment of the method of attack. It is however reasonable to assume that the attacks are related to the 12 May 2019 attacks on four tankers sitting off Fujairah, where the United States have subsequently accused Iran or its affiliates of being responsible.

It is highly likely that we will see similar US reactions to this attack, but it is difficult to assess how else US will react. With the attack, the attackers have sent a clear message to the US and the World that they have the potential to close the Strait of Hormuz if they like, and for US Navy the attacks will also give rise to speculation about exactly how safe their warships operating in the area actually are. Such speculation will impact directly on the future courses of action available to the US.

Advice to members

The tension in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf is now as high as it gets without being an actual armed conflict. Shipowners are advised to exercise extreme caution and instruct their vessels to take precautions as described below when operating in the area. Depending on the risk acceptance levels of the company, and to the extend operations allow, it could be considered to instruct ships to avoid the area or keep as much distance as possible.

Ships operating in the area should take following precautions:

  • Continue to follow the registration and reporting procedures described in chart Q6099 and BMP 5.
  • Report security incidents including suspicious behaviour to UK MTO, MSCHOA and CMF. Details are found in BMP5.
  • Increase vigilance of ship’s crew e.g. by stepping up on lookouts and security patrols, keep VHF radio watch and maintain dialogue with port authorities.
  • When operating in the listed areas, implement security measures equivalent to ISPS Security Level 2.
  • Consider improving the watertight integrity of the hull by closing selected doors and hatches.
  • Consider ensuring that crew sleeping areas are located above the waterline.
  • Consider the wide range of additional self-protection measures as described in ATP-02.1 Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping, which can be found on the joint industry security website.
  • Maintain close dialogue with insurance providers.

 

Jakob Paaske Larsen
in Copenhagen, DK

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