US authorities have reportedly released the container ship ‘MSC Gayane’, almost a month after the ship was seized with 20 tons of cocaine in Philadelphia, marking one of the largest drug seizures in the US history. The ship was released after the operator posted $50 million, including $10 million in cash.
In its weekly report for 9 – 15 July, ReCAAP ISC informed of one CAT 4 incident of armed robbery against ships in Asia, involving the barge ‘Sung Fatt 36’ in the Singapore Strait. Notably, this was the second time in 2019 that this vessel was targeted by perpetrators in this region.
Japan is considering whether Self-Defense Forces troops should participate in a US-proposed coalition to protect strategic waters near the Strait of Hormuz, amid reports saying that the government is analyzing such a move. According to the law, the SDF can protect non-Japanese ships, but it only allows for action to be taken against pirates, and not threats from ships controlled by foreign governments.
The Iranian supertanker ‘Grace 1’, that was seized by Royal Marines near Gibraltar over suspected breach of EU sanctions earlier in July, could be released if the UK is guaranteed the oil is not bound for Syria, said UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
On 20 June 2019 the US pulled back from retaliatory military strikes against Iran, after Iran’s targeting of a US drone allegedly operating in Iranian airspace. This came after a series of attacks on vessels in the Gulf of Oman area, most recently on the Front Altair and the Kokuka Courageous. For this reason, Jean Koh, Daniel Martin and Isabel Phillips, HFW, advise brokers to consider their shipowners’ and charterers’ rights while operating in this tense climate.
Amid an ongoing diplomatic tension globally, Panama said it will withdraw its flag from vessels that violate sanctions and international legislation, the Panama Maritime Authority told Reuters. This comes following removal of about 60 ships linked to Iran and Syria from the Panamanian registry in recent months.
The Royal Gibraltar Police has arrested the Indian Captain and Chief Officer of the Iranian tanker ‘Grace 1’, a few days after the ship was seized suspected of breaching EU sanctions by shipping oil to Syria. This followed an examination of documents and electronic devices onboard.
An ongoing tension in the Middle East in the last months seems to be affecting shipping as it causes insecurity, disruptions along major shipping routes and therefore in trade, as well as seafarers’ safety and the world economy.
The video above shows the USCG Cutter Munro crew members that chase down a self-propelled semi-submersible suspected drug smuggling vessel (SPSS) on June 18, operating in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
As the British Government informed today (June 11), three Iranian vessels tried to block the passage of a ship, called ‘British Heritage’, through the Strait of Hormuz. However, the Iranian ships backed down after warnings from a British warship. The warship ‘HMS Montrose’ got between the Iranian vessels and ‘British Heritage’, while it issued verbal warnings to the Iranian ships.
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