Latest Developments on Transiting the Strait of Hormuz


26 July 2019

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that the UK Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, either individually or in groups. British-flagged vessels should give sufficient notice to the Royal Navy of their passage.

23 July 2019

The UK government has raised the security level for British-flagged shipping to Security Level 3, advising against all passage in Iranian waters and, as things stand, in the entire Strait of Hormuz.

This follows the security advisory issued on 13 June by the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA), which can be read here.

The NMA, have instructed CSOs, SSOs and Masters on board Norwegian-flagged vessels as follows:

  • Vessels are advised to keep well clear of Iranian territorial waters.
  • Vessels arriving Strait of Hormuz within the boundaries of N25° – N28° and E054° – E058°  are requested to implement security measures as described in their SSP according to Security Level 2.

In addition to Operation Sentinel, the UK are currently seeking to put together a European-led maritime protection mission for the region. 

Vessels of any flag should exercise great caution and carry out a thorough voyage risk assessment if transiting the Arabian Gulf, Straits of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman. 

Further updates will be provided as events progress.

22 July 2019

U.S. Central Command develops ‘Operation Sentinel’ in response to the recent maritime security incidents in the Arabian Gulf.

Operation Sentinel is a multinational maritime effort, to increase surveillance and security in key waterways in the Middle East to ensure freedom of navigation in light of recent events. 

The goal of Operation Sentinel is to promote maritime stability, ensure safe passage, and de-escalate tensions in international waters throughout the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Oman. 

This framework will enable nations to provide escort to their flagged vessels and take advantage of the cooperation of participating nations for coordination and surveillance.

The statement released by U.S. Central Command can be read here.

New joint-industry reporting guidance

BIMCO, ICS, Intertanko and OCIMF have jointly released reporting guidance for vessels transiting the Arabian Gulf (AG), Straits of Hormuz (SoH) and Gulf of Oman (GOO).

The guidance provides that to ensure the safety of all vessels and allow navies to afford best protection it is vital:

  • Masters register with UKMTO when entering the Indian Ocean VRA (Ref C & D).
  • Comply with Flag State Guidance.
  • 24-48 hrs in advance – Masters provide transit plans for the SoH and AG to UKMTO including:
    • Time of Entering/Exiting the SoH TSS.
    • Outline of Navigation Plan whilst operating in SoH and AG.
    • Any constraints or speed restrictions.
    • Crew Nationality.
  • CSO’s ensure all contact numbers for UKMTO and USNAVCENT NCAGS are correct.
  • In the event of any incident or being concerned, Masters should call UKMTO immediately.
  • Masters answer all VHF calls from coalition navies. Ch16 is becoming very busy, alternative channels will be offered.
  • CSOs and Masters prepare, print and have available the correct response if called on VHF.

UKMTO will share information with the navies joining Operation Sentinel.

This guidance can be read here.