Risk zone in Strait of Hormuz extended temporarily

Strait of Hormuz. Credit: AISLive IHS Markit

The International Bargaining Forum (IBF) designated the Strait of Hormuz as a Temporary Extended Risk Zone on 13 August 2019, following multiple incidents over the previous 12 weeks and rising tensions in the Gulf of Oman.

The designation as a Temporary Extended Risk Zone means that any seafarer that is subject to an attack in the zone is entitled to a bonus and will have their death and disability compensation doubled.

This is the result of a period of discussions held over the past few weeks by the IBF’s Warlike Operation Areas Committee. The committee has been monitoring the situation closely, as well as the risk to shipping.

The new Temporary Extended Risk Zone is defined by the following co-ordinates but excludes 3 n miles (5.6 km) off the main coastlines of the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Iran:

• On the West: a line joining Ra’s-e Dastakan (26°33’N – 55°17’E) in Iran, southward to Jaztal Hamra lighthouse (25°44’N – 55°48’E) in the United Arab Emirates (the common limit with the Persian Gulf).
• On the East: a line joining Ra’s Līmah (25°57’N – 56°28’E) in Oman, eastward to Ra’s al Kūh (25°48’N – 57°18’E) in Iran (the common limit with the Arabian Sea).

Koichi Akamine, Joint Negotiating Group’s (JNG) chairman captain, said, “These discussions were never going to be easy. After the initial attacks in the Gulf of Oman in May and June, one may feel the need to act quickly to designate a risk area. However, it is important in such events to step back and assess the real threat to shipping and the most appropriate measures to take. The JNG is confident that it has introduced a designation that properly addresses concerns by seafarers transiting the Straits.”

The IMEC chairman, Captain Belal Ahmed, added that risks also extended beyond oil tankers to container ships that transit to Jebel Ali and beyond, adding, “As an employers’ association, it was important for us to reassure seafarers who may be at additional risk in the area. We would urge the responsible parties to expedite the release of the held seafarers.”

Bob Sanguinetti, chief executive officer at the UK Chamber of Shipping, commented to SAS on the situation. “The recent extension of the risk zone in the Strait of Hormuz is a timely reminder of the risks facing international shipping across the region. The safe passage of our ships and seafarers remains an absolute priority, and we back the Royal Navy’s support of UK flagged vessels in order to achieve this.

“We continue to call for a swift and peaceful resolution in the Straits that sees the safe return on the Stena Impero and her crew. De-escalation and negotiation remain key to ensure this outcome.” he concluded.