International Bargaining Forum Designates Straits Of Oman, Hormuz As High Risk Area

International Bargaining Forum Designates Straits of Oman, Hormuz as High Risk Area

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 13th August, 2019) The International Bargaining Forum (IBF) designated the straits of Oman and Hormuz as a Temporary Extended Risk Zone following a series of incidents in the region, IBF's Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) Chairman Capt. Koichi Akamine said.

Since May 12, several oil tankers have been attacked in the Strait of Hormuz. The United States and its allies have blamed Iran for the incidents, while Tehran has denied its involvement. In July, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the UK-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz over an alleged breach of international maritime regulations. The move came two weeks after Iran's own Grace 1 oil tanker had been seized by the UK marines near Gibraltar over an alleged breach of EU sanctions against Syria.

"After the initial attacks in the Gulf of Oman in May and June, one may feel the need to act quickly to designate a risk area. However, it is important in such events to step back and assess the real threat to shipping and the most appropriate measures to take.

The JNG is confident that it has now introduced a designation which properly addresses concerns by seafarers transiting the Straits," Akamine said on Monday, as quoted by the Seatrade Maritime news media outlet.

Chairman of the International Maritime Employers' Council Capt. Belal Ahmed said that the move was necessary to protect the sailors, who are exposed to additional risk in the Gulf region.

"The Strait of Hormuz is a key shipping route, not just for the oil tankers in the forefront of current media focus, but also, for example, containerships on transit to Jebel Ali and beyond. As an employers' association, it was important for us to reassure seafarers who may be at additional risk in the area. We would urge the responsible parties to expedite the release of the held seafarers," Ahmed stressed.

The Temporary Extended Risk Zone status envisages additional payments to sailors working in the area, and doubled compensations for them in case of death or serious injuries.

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