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WorldIran Seen Focusing on U.K. Ships as Risk Flares Up in the Gulf

02:35  12 july  2019
02:35  12 july  2019 Source:   bloomberg.com

To Evade Sanctions on Iran, Ships Vanish in Plain Sight

To Evade Sanctions on Iran, Ships Vanish in Plain Sight A week ago, a small tanker ship approached the Persian Gulf after a 19-day voyage from China. The captain, as required by international rules, reported the ship’s position, course, speed and another key detail: It was riding high in the water, meaning it was probably empty. 

“ Iran will focus on retaliation towards U . K . assets,” says Olivier Jakob, managing director of consultant Petromatrix GmbH. “As far as escalation, I The growing perils for vessels in the region has been most clearly seen in the cost of insuring tankers. Premiums for the ships and their cargoes sailing to

“ Iran will focus on retaliation towards U . K . assets,” says Olivier Jakob, managing director of consultant Petromatrix GmbH. “As far as escalation, I The growing perils for vessels in the region has been most clearly seen in the cost of insuring tankers. Premiums for the ships and their cargoes sailing to

Iran Seen Focusing on U.K. Ships as Risk Flares Up in the Gulf A British Royal Navy ship patrols near supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar on July 6, 2019. - Iran demanded on July 5, 2019 that Britain immediately release an oil tanker it has detained in Gibraltar, accusing it of acting at the bidding of the United States. Authorities in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on Spain's southern tip at the western entrance to the Mediterranean, said they suspected the tanker was carrying crude to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JORGE GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images) (Bloomberg) -- Shipping in the Middle East is getting ever riskier, with a standoff between the U.K. navy and Iran just the latest in a line of incidents in the region over the past few months.

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Shipping in the Middle East is getting ever riskier , with a standoff between the U . K . navy and Iran just the latest in a (Bloomberg) -- Britain raised the threat level to the highest possible for ships operating in the Persian Gulf as tensions escalate in a region accounting for a third of seaborne petroleum trade.

“ Iran will focus on retaliation towards U . K . assets,” says Olivier Jakob, managing director of consultant Petromatrix GmbH. “As far as escalation, I The growing perils for vessels in the region has been most clearly seen in the cost of insuring tankers. Premiums for the ships and their cargoes sailing to

Though Iran’s attempts to block the passage of BP Plc’s British Heritage oil tanker were ultimately thwarted by the U.K. Navy, they highlight a growing trend of disruptions to shipping in the region. Two tankers were sabotaged in the region last month, while four were struck in May.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps warned on Wednesday that it would “reciprocate” for the seizure last week of a vessel hauling its crude by Gibraltarian officials and British Royal Marines. The threat all adds to a growing sense that disruptions to maritime trade are set to continue near a choke point that accounts for one third of all seaborne petroleum.

Iranian boats attempted to seize British tanker

Iranian boats attempted to seize British tanker Five armed Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps boats unsuccessfully tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday, according to two US officials with direct knowledge of the incident. The British Heritage tanker was sailing out of the Persian Gulf and was crossing into the Strait of Hormuz area when it was approached by the Iranian boats. The Iranians ordered the tanker to change course and stop in nearby Iranian territorial waters, according to the officials. A US aircraft was overhead and recorded video of the incident.

Explosions disabled both tankers and forced their crews to evacuate. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said without presenting evidence that Iran was Video released by U .S. Central Command shows a patrol boat pulling up to the Kokuka Courageous, one of two ships attacked in the Gulf of Oman on

The 2019–20 Persian Gulf crisis, also known as the Iranian –American confrontation and the Crisis in the Gulf , is an intensification of military tensions between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United

“Iran will focus on retaliation towards U.K. assets,” says Olivier Jakob, managing director of consultant Petromatrix GmbH. “As far as escalation, I don’t know how far they want to escalate it, but they can do it just to be a nuisance.”

The confrontation was reported by the British government. Tehran said it didn’t happen.

British Protection

The British Heritage is registered in the Isle of Man, a British crown dependency, but flies the British flag. There are seven Isle of Man registered ships in or close to the Persian Gulf, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. London-based BP also charters ships to export crude from the region, and will sometimes take tankers on long-term charters.

The Isle of Man Ship Registry confirmed that vessels registered there are currently operating in the Gulf. It said such carriers receive the same protection and support as U.K. ships, as deemed appropriate by the British government.

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A timeline of escalation in the Gulf : Iranian Boats Tried to Block British Tanker in Persian Gulf , U . K . Says A British warship f Tensions in the Gulf have escalated in recent months amid a deepening standoff between Iran and United States over Tehran's nuclear programme, with a string of incidents

First came the flare - up when the U .S. assassinated one of Iran ’s top generals. Now, the region’s stocks and bonds are suffering the economic fallout from A crude oil supertanker caught fire in the Persian Gulf , west of the Strait of Hormuz, prompting a warning from naval authorities in the U . K . for ships in

There are 15 ships flying the flags of Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and the U.K. presently in or around the Persian Gulf, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. They span a wide mix of different types of merchant vessels from tankers to LNG carriers, container ships and dry-bulk ships.

“U.K.-flagged vessels, as well as broader flags of convenience and U.K. interests, continue to exist in a status of heightened but manageable risk,” Dryad Global, a London-based private intelligence firm advising energy companies, shipowners and commodity traders, said in a note. “It is highly likely that this latest incident will provide further impetus for a coordinated international response to provide naval escorts to vessels within the region.”

Premium Rates

The growing perils for vessels in the region has been most clearly seen in the cost of insuring tankers. Premiums for the ships and their cargoes sailing to and from the Persian Gulf soared more than tenfold late-last month, although it’s unclear what impact the latest incident will have.

The hike came not long after the Joint War Committee, a group that advises insurers, designated the entire Persian Gulf and waters just outside it a so-called Listed Area -- the riskiest possible classification. The assessment gives underwriters room to charge more.

Britain sends second warship to Gulf after Iran tanker standoff

Britain sends second warship to Gulf after Iran tanker standoff Britain said Friday it was sending a second warship to the Gulf and raising the alert level in the oil-rich region as tensions spike after Iranian gunboats threatened a UK supertanker. The decision was disclosed as US President Donald Trump stepped up his war of words with the Islamic republic, which breached part of a nuclear accord already rejected by Washington. "Iran better be careful," Trump told reporters outside the White House. 

Keeping Watch

Shipping groups have also been ramping up guidance to their members. Crews should be on alert for any approaches toward a ship, while also using spotlights and sonar equipment to deter approaching divers, according to the Oil Companies International Marine Forum.

Last week, five groups jointly issued a statement advising owners not to use private armed guards, as that may exacerbate already high levels of tension. Using force against possible threats in the Gulf of Oman could escalate the situation and endanger ships and their crews, the groups said.

“There is a greater risk shipping from the Persian Gulf, but this risk has been lingering around for quite a few months now,” says Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING Bank NV. “Obviously the latest action does little to calm those concerns.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Longley in London at alongley@bloomberg.net;Firat Kayakiran in London at fkayakiran@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net, Christopher Sell

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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