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Key global shipping associations urge international community to stop escalation of tensions in relation to Strait of Hormuz

Following the seizure of an oil tanker on July 19, 2019, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA) have jointly urged immediate action by the international community to stop the escalation of tensions and fully respect international law.   

The rest of their statement reads thus:   

All countries should ensure the safe passage of merchant vessels, by respecting the Freedom of Navigation enshrined in Article 87(1) a and the Right of Innocent Passage defined in Article 19 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

Freedom of Navigation is vital for global trade 

“Freedom of Navigation is vital for global trade and is a fundamental principle of international maritime law. Seafarers and ships must be allowed to operate in safety, and it is simply not acceptable for them to be used as bargaining counters in any way,” said Mr Guy Platten, ICS Secretary-General.

Merchant vessels not be subject to unlawful seizures or armed attacks. 

“Merchant vessels engaged in international trade should not be subject to unlawful seizures or armed attacks. The Strait of Hormuz is an important route for European merchant vessels and we strongly urge EU member states to work with Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in order to safeguard this vital passageway,” added ECSA Secretary-General, Mr Martin Dorsman.

The Strait of Hormuz critical shipping lane for Asian countries, connecting Europe and Asia 

“The Strait of Hormuz is the only route in and out of the Gulf, and one of the critical shipping lanes for Asian countries that also connects Europe and Asia. We, therefore, urge all countries to completely secure the safe passage by respecting the freedom of navigation and the right of innocent passage as enshrined in the UNCLOS, and to push for a complete de-escalation of tensions in the region,” said Mr Ang Chin Eng, ASA Secretary-General.

Illegal detention of British-flagged vessel, requiring diplomatic solution 

The Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by a Swedish company with a multinational crew, appears to have been detained illegally while transiting an international strait. The situation, therefore, requires a diplomatic solution in order for business to return to normal as soon as possible.

Representing the global and regional shipping industries, ICS, ECSA and ASA will continue to work with all relevant authorities to ensure the safety of merchant shipping in the region.


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