South Korean head of IMO calls six Gulf area attacks on tankers and threats ‘intolerable’

Friday, 19 July 2019
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The International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting at its headquarters in London has condemned six attacks on ships in the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman, two main transit routes for LNG carriers and oil tankers, with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim calling the threats to shipping “intolerable”.

The statement came at the end of an IMO Council meeting from July 15-19 at which the Arab Gulf incidents were debated.

After debate, the IMO Council decided to condemn the attacks and expressed its concern over the grave danger to life and the serious risks to navigational safety.

“Threats to ships and their crews, peaceably going about their business in any part of the world, are intolerable,” said the Secretary-General.

US sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear policies have raised tensions in the region and around the narrow Strait of Hormuz, through which LNG exports from Qatar and the UAE must pass.

The IMO Council emphasised the need for flag States and shipowners and operators to review the maritime security plans for their ships and implement necessary measures to address the heighted security risks.

“I strongly urge all Member States to redouble their efforts and to work together to find a long lasting solution to ensure the safety and security of international shipping around the globe and the protection of the marine environment,” said Lim.

“We owe it to our industry, which is indispensable to the world, and to our seafarers,” he added.

The attacks include one of 12 May 2019 on the Saudi Arabian-flagged vessels “Amjad” and “Al Marzoqah” and the Norwegian-flagged vessel “Andrea Victory”.

The UAE-flagged vessel “A. Michel” was then attacked off the coast near the UAE port of Fujairah and suffered sabotage damage and on 13 June, the Marshall Islands-flag “Front Altair” and Panama-flag “Kokuka Courageous” were attacked, suffering hull damage and fire, while located in the Sea of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz.

The Council is the executive body of the IMO, a United Nations agency, and consists of 40 member states elected by the IMO Assembly.

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