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Industry associations release updated guidelines for commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden

On 5 February, seven industry associations updated their security guidelines for commercial ships navigating the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.


Why have industry guidelines been updated now?

The timing of the new guidelines by BIMCO, CLIA, ICS, IMCA, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO and OCIMF takes place in the context of ongoing attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the most recent of which was a missile attack on an oil tanker, MARLIN LUANDA, on 26 January which started a fire onboard (all crew were confirmed safe on 27 January) and two attacks on 6 February that fortunately did not result in damage to either vessel. Attacks launched from Yemen are continuing despite military intervention by UK and US in the form of airstrikes on infrastructure believed to be aiding Ansar Allah in their selection of targets. Commercial traffic in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has declined after mid December and commercial firms continue to find alternative routes avoiding the Red Sea, adding considerable cost to routine transits.

The threats to shipping do not (yet) fall within the legal definition of interstate conflict. Combined Maritime Forces patrol vessels and others are operating in a surveillance and protective role, not a war-fighting role. The new guidelines are careful to remind ship operators that the ship’s master retains ultimate responsibility for the safety and security of vessel and crew.

A report from Maritrace posted on February 15, 2024.


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