Middle EastTankers

Chemical tanker latest to be fired on by Iranian Navy

Dubai: Another cargo ship has come under fire from Iranian authorities sending jitters through the shipping industry as the vital Strait of Hormuz becomes increasingly unstable.

According to CNN, five boats from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard opened fire in international waters on the 46,105-dwt chemical tanker Alpine Eternity this morning.

The Singapore-flagged ship only managed to escape further shots by changing course (see satellite image below courtesy of VesselsValue.com) and heading into United Arab Emirates waters where three local coast guard vessels came to protect the tanker.

None of the crew were harmed, initial reports claim. The ship is now moored at Jebel Ali port.

The Alpine Eternity is manageed by Transpetrol. It is the third ship to be fired on by Iranian vessels in the past month – the most high profile case being the Oaktree-owned Maersk Tigris, which was captured and taken into Iranian waters until a $10m fine was paid by the charterer, Maersk.

“It’s imperative shipowners and operators are aware where their ships are and to ensure proper navigation under ‘innocent passage’. Under this doctrine, international waterways are open for all to travel. Ships should be in close coordination with multilateral government entities like UKMTO, the US 5th Fleet and EUNAVFOR when transiting within the Iranian EEZ,” Kevin Doherty, president of Nexus Consulting, a US security firm, told Splash.

About 20% of the world’s petroleum and about 35% of the petroleum traded by sea, passes through the Strait of Hormuz, which at its narrowest is just 39 km wide.

With additional reporting by Grant Rowles and Holly Birkett




Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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