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UK-flagged ship assisted by Royal Navy through troubled waters

THE BW Group's Isle of Man-flagged very large liquefied petroleum gas carrier BW Elm has passed through the Strait of Hormuz as transits continue after Iran seized Stena Impero in international waters

24 July 2019 - 19:00

THE BW Group's Isle of Man-flagged very large liquefied petroleum gas carrier BW Elm has passed through the Strait of Hormuz as transits continue after Iran seized Stena Impero in international waters.

The 2007-built BW Elm is the first British vessel above 10,000 dwt seen to transit the passage since Stena Impero, a UK-flagged, Stena Bulk-owned product tanker, was seized by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on July 19.



The vessel was assisted by the British navy through the Strait of Hormuz despite UK government guidance to avoid the route.



UK's Lloyd's List understands BW Elm was not provided with a direct escort but was 'closely shadowed' by a British naval vessel.



The unofficial escort was likely to have been provided by the warship HMS Montrose which is operating in the area and previously thwarted one attack on the UK-flagged suezmax tanker British Heritage. It arrived too late to prevent Stena Impero being taken.



BW Elm is heading for the port of Mesaieed, Qatar, to load an LPG cargo.



The decision to make the transit was only taken in Singapore after a risk assessment was carried out and in close consultation with UK Maritime Trade Operations.



The transit through international waters in the Gulf of Oman lasted about four hours at more than 17 knots, vessel-tracking data shows.



BW Group has a second VLGC in ballast - BW Mindoro - and sailing for the Middle East Gulf region. It is unclear whether this vessel is also likely to make the same passage.



BW LPG confirmed the BW Elm had completed the Strait of Hormuz transit and was heading to its load port in Qatar.



'BW LPG follows developments in the Strait of Hormuz closely and have asked all of our vessels to proceed with additional vigilance and to follow all appropriate security protocols in place,' a spokesperson said. 'BW is liaising closely with all relevant authorities such as flag, class, and insurers and we are operating at our highest security protocol.'



The Department for Transport in London recently took the unprecedented step of extending the security level for British-flagged shipping from Level 3 in Iranian waters to cover all of the Strait of Hormuz.


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