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INTERTANKO/OCIMF update following attacks on shipping in Gulf of Oman on 13 June 2019. 

This report consolidates considerations on Risk Mitigation measures and follows the report of 16th June.

What we know

  • Two tankers, in close proximity, suffered explosions whilst underway by what was reported to be multiple magnetic limpet mines.
  • The explosions were at or above the waterline and reporting suggests they were attached from undetected small boats possibly acting under the cover of darkness.
  • Neither vessel was flagged to a nation related to the Saudi-led Coalition. The attack appears to have been well-planned and coordinated.
  • Additional military assets and vessels are actively deployed in the Gulf of Oman for surveillance, monitoring and response
  • All seafarers operating in the Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Straits of Hormuz and Arabian Gulf must remain vigilant and listen for military warnings AT ALL TIMES

What we are doing

INTERTANKO and OCIMF maintain close contact with Flag States, Regional Stakeholders, UKMTO, Combined Maritime Forces and other industry associations.

Risk Mitigation Measures
INTERTANKO and OCIMF recommend companies review:

  • BMP5, Section 2
  • US Maritime Advisories
  • Industry Releasable Threat Bulletins
  • Flag Security Advisers and Bulletins

and consider sending the following guidance to vessels:

  • Undertake a new ship-and voyage-specific threat risk assessment before entering any region where there has been an incident, or the threat has changed.
  • Where transit includes passage through a confined straight, if navigationally safe to do so, consider unmanned machinery spaces (UMS) for the duration.
  • Consider transiting at full speed whilst ensuring this is only done where it is commensurate with safe speed, safe navigation and manoeuvring permits.
  • Consider if a Day/Night transit is appropriate to the Threat posed.
  • After the risk assessment, review the Ship’s Security Plan and Vessel Hardening Plan.
  • Conduct Security Training/Exercises prior to entering areas of increased risk.

Mitigation Measures may include

In addition to maintaining a full and vigilant bridge watch for safe navigation:

  • Place additional lookouts to the navigation team and bridge wings with a specific remit to maintain visual watch for small craft approaching.
  • Ensuring the lookouts are briefed on maintaining a clear watch astern and over the side. Maintain use of night vision binoculars and consider carrying more onboard.
  • Maintain a strict communications watch and establish communication with all vessels coming close and strictly observe any promulgated exclusion zones or guidance issued by coastal states.
  • Ensuring ISPS control levels are strictly in place.
  • Consideration of extra unarmed lookout to be carried in addition to any contracted security for HRA transits, (note the northern part of the Gulf of Oman is not part of the industry designated High Risk Area for piracy).
  • Ensure water tight integrity underway or at anchorage.
  • Ensure watch officers save Voyage Data Recorder (VDR / SVDR) data in the event of an attack or suspicious event in the vicinity of the vessel.
  • If during transit, a threat from mines is announced, move all crew to above the waterline.
  • Rig outboard lighting where possible provided they do not interfere with keeping a safe lookout, particularly over the stern and rig/use searchlights if available.
  • Report any suspicious activity immediately to both the port and UKMTO +442392222060. Monitor relevant VHF and other communication channels.
  • Check all fire-fighting equipment is available for immediate use. Make sure the emergency fire pump is available if any maintenance is being undertaken.
  • Keep the Automatic Information System (AIS) on. There is no need to complete the field stating the last or next port of call.

Visual check of the hull, at sea or at anchor:

  • Undertake a visual over side search from the deck, all around the vessel, to check for anything attached to the hull of the vessel.
  • Particular attention should be paid to the hull at or near the waterline.
  • If a vessel detects anything unusual attached to the hull, then it should contact the UKMTO and Flag State immediately.  All crew should be evacuated from the immediate area and mustered in a safe place. Vessel should follow the advice of the military authorities.
  • Crew conducting visual checks should wear appropriate PPE, protective head gear, safety harness and life jackets at all times.

Additional measures Operators may wish to take if alerted to suspicious activity whilst at anchor include:

  • Rotate the propeller continuously or at short, irregular intervals. Operate bow and stern thrusters at zero (0) thrust.
  • Turn the rudder frequently.
  • Switch the echo sounder to transmit counter/combat swimmer/diver threat. More Information:


Download BMP5: Best Management Practices To Deter Piracy And Enhance Maritime Security In The Red 

Sea, Gulf Of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea

OCIMF’s Ship Security: Hull Vulnerability Study

NATO ATP2: NCAGS Guide to Owners, Operators, Masters and Officers Edition A Version 1 Annex D

Contact: +44 (0) 207 654 1202