Finance and InsuranceMiddle East

Joint War Committee extends high risk area across the Gulf

In the wake of attacks on four tankers in waters near Fujairah eight days ago, the Joint War Committee of the London marine insurance market has extended the list of waters deemed as high risk to include Oman, the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf.

“The situation will be kept under close review,” the Joint War Committee said in a statement on Friday.

Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) -Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates -began “enhanced security patrols” in the international waters of the Arabian Gulf on Saturday, the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet said.

GCC members were “specifically increasing communication and co-ordination with each other in support of regional naval co-operation and maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf”, the fleet, based in Bahrain, said on Sunday.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks on the four tankers which were hit likely by limpet mines or underwater drones.

In its latest weekly tanker report, brokers Gibson noted: “Not in a long time has the geopolitical situation in many of the world’s largest crude providers been so precarious. At the time of writing, many are still trying to understand the rationale behind the sabotage of vessels at Fujairah and drone attacks on Saudi Arabian pumping stations. With supply concerns in Iran, Libya and Venezuela already causing headaches and continued uncertainty over Russian crude shipments via the Druzhba pipeline, could potential supply disruptions put further pressure on prices?”

Gibson analysts suggested potential supply disruptions could mean major importers such as China look further afield for crude if traditional routes become too expensive or disturbed. 

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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