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Noticias de interés

Strait of Hormuz / Persian Gulf: Fresh warning of threat to shipping

Fecha de la noticias: 12/08/2019 • Publicada: 12/08/2019 

12/08/2019 Posn 26.47 - 56.50

Background

The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) has issued a new advisory for vessels operating in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.

It says vessels should keep their AIS (automatic identification systems) transmitting at all times and be ready to answer VHF calls from coalition naval forces.

In goes on, in a section specifically for US-flagged vessels, to say ships should register simultaneously with the UK Maritime Trade Office (UKMTO) and US Fifth Fleet Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) Watch before they enter the area.

They should send both agencies, via a single email, details of when they will enter and when they will leave the Strait of Hormuz Traffic Separation Scheme and give an outline of their navigation plans for operating in the Strait and in the Persian Gulf.

The advisory is current from August 8.

Assessment and Analysis

Tension has been growing between Iran and the West with both sides accusing each other of aggressive behaviour.

The United States blames Iran for a series of attacks against commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and in the wider Persian Gulf.

Iran denies involvement in some of the incidents and, in cases were vessels have been seized or detained, claims it has been acting lawfully.

The latest MARAD advisory talks of a serious threat to commercial vessels from heightened military activity.

It says there have been a least two cases of vessels reporting GPS interference. It claims there have also been reports of spoofed bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be US or coalition warships.

This advisory warns against vessels shutting off their AIS saying its risks complicating response efforts should they be involved in an incident.

If Iranian forces hail a US-flagged ship, or board or attempt to board, the advisory says the US Fifth Fleet Battle Watch should be informed immediately.

Ships should take extreme care not to enter sensitive Iranian waters.

Ships should maintain a high state of awareness and be alert to local and regional tensions that could put them at risk.

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