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
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
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
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.