In the July edition of ‘The SENTINEL Watch’ providing the merchant shipping industry with an update on maritime security incidents within the Middle East Region, the International Maritime Security Construct informs that the threat in the Southern Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb, Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman continues to be Low-Moderate.
Mariners are encouraged to remain in international waters, avoid Iranian territorial waters, keep IMSC bridge cards handy, and if hailed, ships should respond with name, flag, and advise they are proceeding in accordance with International Law,
- Southern Red Sea/BAM threat is LOW-MODERATE
- Persian Gulf/Gulf of Oman threat is LOW-MODERATE
- TTW avoidance guidance
- UK & US Carrier Strike Groups sail to AOR
The threat in the Southern Red Sea and Bab-el-Mandeb continues to be Low-Moderate for IMSC flagged vessels. Areas closest to the Yemeni coastline, as well as potential Houthi misidentification or miscalculation present the primary threats. Separately, the threat for IMSC flagged vessels in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman remains Low-Moderate.
Vessels are advised to remain in international waters and avoid transiting Iranian territorial waters including the areas claimed by Iran such as Abu Musa 25° 52’N 55° 02’E, Greater Tunb 26° 15’N 55° 16’E, and Lesser Tunb 26° 14’N 55° 08’E.
Mariners are advised to follow the guidance in BMP 5 (as modified by national authorities) and review the guidance and responses contained within the IMSC Bridge Cards.
In addition to the guidance provided in BMP5, merchant shipping is encouraged to report the following to UKMTO as detailed in the IMSC Bridge Cards:
- Threatening or harassing conduct directed at a merchant vessel.
- Threatening or harassing language transmitted on VHF.
- Boarding or search of a vessel without a valid legal pretext.
- Unnecessary manoeuvring in unsafe proximity of a merchant vessel.
- Intentional close manoeuvring so as to restrict a vessel’s ability to manoeuvre without lawful justification.
- Aircraft (including drones) operating at an unsafe altitude or distance that results in a threat to a merchant vessel.
- Unprofessional or inappropriate queries; queries that include asking questions beyond flagged state, port of departure and port of arrival. Including questions relating to whether warships or aircraft are operating in the area or asking unnecessarily probing questions about the crew or cargo.
- Sighting of suspicious floating objects (possible mine or waterborne improvised explosive device) in the area.
- On receiving a distress call from another Merchant Vessel that reports being harassed or attacked.