Concerns Mount Over Hormuz Shipping

ICS Calls for Freedom of Navigation

The International Chamber of Shipping has expressed concern over tensions in the Gulf of Hormuz, following the seizure of a British-flagged tanker by Iranian state forces.
The British-registered, Swedish-ownwed vessel Stena Impero was detained by Iran's paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on July 19.
“We are extremely concerned about this latest development in the Strait of Hormuz, particularly in respect of the safety of seafarers. We call on all authorities to work together to seek a swift and transparent resolution to the situation and to ensure that crews are kept safe,” said Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping.

The capture of the Stena Impero follows the seizure of an Iranian tanker by UK forces the previous week in relation to its contravention of U.S. sanctions.

Strategic Choke Point
The Strait of Hormuz is one of the busiest shipping routes in the world with almost 20 percent of global oil volumes and about one-third of the world’s LNG passing via its shipping lanes. Between 52 nautical miles and 21 nautical miles in width, the strait is one of the world's most strategically important choke points and vital for breakbulk shipping in the region.

"Freedom of navigation is vital for global trade and we encourage all nations to uphold this fundamental principle of maritime law. In the 21st century it is not acceptable for seafarers and ships to become pawns in any way, they must be allowed to operate in safety. We will be reviewing the situation and remain in contact with relevant authorities,” Platten said.

May Chairs Cobra
In the UK, outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee to discuss solutions but despite calls from around the globe for a speedy resolution to the stand-off it seems neither side has an easy route to descalate the situation.
“It is unacceptable and highly escalatory to threaten shipping going about its legitimate business through internationally recognized transit corridors,” a government spokesperson said.

The situation has been further exacerbated by political turmoil in the UK with commentators claiming government had taken its "eye off the ball" as Theresa May prepares to step down on Wednesday, in the wake of deep acrimony in Westminster over the future shape of Brexit negotiations.