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Update on Persian Gulf tensions & sanctions clauses issued

After the killing of General Qassem Soleimani by a US drone in early January 2020, and the following retaliation by Iran, BIMCO is publishing its view of the escalated tension in the Persian Gulf, as well as advice regarding the new sanctions clauses, and encouraging owners, operators and charterers to follow the operational and contractual guidance set out in this article.

The killing of the Iranian General constituted a significant escalation of an already tense situation between the US and Iran. The subsequent firing of missiles at US military targets by Iran in retaliation and the shooting down of an Ukrainian airplane show, in BIMCO’s view, that further flaring up is possible. In the light of the escalated tension, owners and operators should continue to carefully monitor the situation, it stressed in a release.

The flare up could happen in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, the Bab el-Mandeb and the Red Sea, among other regions, it was pointed out.

BIMCO has, therefore,  encouraged the shipping industry to take several basic precautions when operating in areas where the US-Iran conflict can spill over. These precautions include reporting to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), strengthening the ship’s watertight integrity and firefighting capability, and improve lookout and general awareness of how the situation develops. The full set of guidance to shipping is available in the “Armed Conflict and War” section at

Shipowners planning to send ships to the troubled region should carry out a thorough risk assessment and consider all relevant factors. Some shipowners will choose to stay away completely, while others will find it safe enough to carry out the voyage. Such a decision depends on the risk appetite of the shipowner and the outcome of the risk assessment. BIMCO normally does not issue recommendations regarding whether to suspend or continue shipping in specific regions. This is also the case regarding the Persian Gulf, it said.

In the meantime, the US has imposed new sanctions. To cater to this situation and to avoid any sanctions’ violation, BIMCO recommends that parties trading in the Persian Gulf area carefully check all persons involved for exposure to sanctions and to incorporate the latest available editions of standard sanctions clauses into their charter parties: the BIMCO SANCTIONS CLAUSE FOR TIME CHARTER PARTIES 2020 and the BIMCO SANCTIONS CLAUSE FOR VOYAGE CHARTER PARTIES 2020. These clauses will help the parties to navigate the risks and to protect the innocent party in case of sanctions’ violations.

Besides, in view of the military attacks and tensions, some owners and operators are considering whether to refuse to proceed to, or if the vessel is already there, to leave the Persian Gulf area. Owners’ potential rights and the allocation of additional insurance costs were highlighted in BIMCO’s news pieces PERSIAN GULF: WAR RISKS REVISITED and TENSION IN THE GULF: THE CONTRACTUAL IMPLICATIONS, the release said.


Source : Exim News Service - London, Jan. 23


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