Nautilus International has welcomed a reduction in risk levels by the UK for vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz. Namely, on November 7 the Warlike Operations Area Committee (WOAC) agreed to downgrade the Strait of Hormuz from a High-Risk Area.
This means that UK-flagged ships will soon be able to transit the Strait of Hormuz without Royal Naval support, while British seafarers will no longer receive additional payments for making this journey.
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson welcomed this decision, highlighting that the safety and security of seafarers was of ‘utmost importance to the Union.’
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In fact, in July, the UK Government announced that the Royal Navy will escort British-flagged vessels when sailing though the Strait of Hormuz in support of free navigation, after noting that they didn’t have the resources to do so in the past.
In September, it was further stated that the presence of the UK warships in the Strait of Hormuz has stabilized the commercial shipping operations, following the tensions in the area after Iran seized a UK-flagged tanker in the region, a British navy official reported to Reuters.
More recently, the Royal Navy announced that it has successfully guided over seven million tonnes of British shipping, which is the equivalent of almost 20 wartime convoys, through the Strait of Hormuz since the start of its maritime security commission in July.
Except for WOAC, the International Bargaining Forum (IBF) also reduced its risk rating in the Strait of Hormuz on October 19.
The WOAC decision was made one month after the British-flagged Stena Impero was released from detention by Iran. The country’s revolutionary guards had seized the British tanker in response to the UK’s capture of an Iranian vessel off Gibraltar.
Moreover, there has been an escalation of violence in the Strait of Hormuz since May, with a number of attacks on shipping.