US and UK Issue Warnings for Commercial Vessels in Persian Gulf and Surrounding Waters

January 06: In response to recent US military action in Iraq, targeting a senior member of Iran’s military, the US and UK have both issued warnings to the maritime industry operating in and around the Persian Gulf.

US Warning: The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) released U.S. Maritime Alert 2020-001A:

Threat Type: Threat to Commercial Vessels from Iran and its Proxies
Geographic Area: Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean

Multiple maritime threats have been reported in the vicinity of the geographic areas described above. On January 2, 2020, the U.S. military took decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad. The Iranian response to this action, if any, is unknown, but there remains the possibility of Iranian action against U.S. maritime interests in the region.

The U.S. government is continually assessing the maritime security situation in the region to safeguard freedom of navigation, ensure the free flow of commerce, and protect U.S. vessels, personnel, and interests. U.S. Fifth Fleet Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) has the latest information on the dynamic maritime security threats and operational environment in this region. U.S. commercial vessels are advised to exercise caution and coordinate vessel voyage planning for transits of the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea with NCAGS and follow NCAGSā€™s recommendations and guidance whenever possible.

U.S. commercial vessels operating in this area should review U.S. Maritime Advisory 2019-012, which contains contact information for U.S. Fifth Fleet NCAGS. This Alert will automatically expire on January 13, 2020. For more information about U.S. Maritime Alerts and Advisories, including subscription details, please visit http://www.marad.dot.gov/MSCI.

MARAD, 2020

In addition, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK FCO) “issued update travel advice for a number of countries — including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, the Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates — regarding heightened regional tensions, which reads in part as follows: ‘Following the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US strike in Baghdad on 3 January, British nationals in the region should remain vigilant and keep up to date with the latest developments, including via the media and this travel advice.’ (UK FCO via GlobalSecur)

UK Warning: The UKMTO has shared the above US warning, adding, “UKMTO is aware of reports of United States military strikes overnight. Ships in the Gulf region are reminded to remain vigilant and continue to plan their transits in accordance with BMP5 along with current guidance.”

Source: MARAD & UKMTO

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