Maritime Security - Guidance for vessels transiting the Arabian Gulf, Straits of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman

22 July 2019

The recent attacks on merchant vessels in the vicinity of the Straits of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, culminating in the boarding and detainment of a UK flagged tanker at the end of last week, have prompted the United States (US) Central Command to promote a multinational naval security initiative, Operation Sentinel, to protect freedom of navigation. A news statement on Operation Sentinel from the US Central Command can be accessed here.

A joint paper issued by BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping, Intertanko and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) is advising vessels in the region to continue to register with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) when entering the Indian Ocean voluntary reporting area (VRA) and additionally to report prior to navigating through the Straits of Hormuz. This is to assist naval units participating in Operation Sentinel deploy their resources most effectively.

The paper includes details of some other sources of information that may be of assistance for Company Security Officers (CSOs) when planning for a transit in the region. Links to the additional sources of information are set out below for ease of reference.

The joint paper is available here.

Members should also monitor the output of their flag states on this subject, as some are currently recommending against transit of the Straits of Hormuz.

Links to additional information:

• Industry Guidance of Safety and Security and the use of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) in Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman (3 July 2019), click here.
• BMP5: Best Management Practices to deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, click here.
• OCIMF on Ship Security Hull Vulnerability Study (First edition 2019), click here.
• NATO ATP2 Naval Cooperation & Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) – Guide to Owners, Operators, Masters and Officers – September 2014, click here.