UK-flagged ships consider switching registration to avoid seizure in Gulf
HEIGHTENED security and safety risks in the Persian Gulf has prompted some owners and operators of UK-flagged vessels to contemplate changing flag registration to avoid possible seizure by Iran
HEIGHTENED security and safety risks in the Persian Gulf has prompted some owners and operators of UK-flagged vessels to contemplate changing flag registration to avoid possible seizure by Iran.
Eight trading vessels remain stranded in the Persian Gulf as others bypass Strait of Hormuz transits. Some 65 liquefied natural gas carriers and liquefied petroleum gas carriers with UK registries, plus 351 tankers above 10,000 dwt, could be sidelined from the world's leading energy commodities region. BP Shipping is the third-party operator for 29 UK-flagged ships out of its fleet of 56, reported UK's Lloyd's List.
Oil traders and charterers are believed to be reassessing the short and medium-term use of tonnage connected with the Isle of Man, UK, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar or British Virgin Islands group of British registries as diplomatic tensions with Iran escalate.
Any flag switching will further jeopardize the UK ship registry, which has so far this year lost 30 per cent of its tonnage due to uncertainty over Brexit.
The UK Chamber of Shipping has been holding talks with the government as a diplomatic solution to the impasse was sought and details of the European-led maritime protection mission were teased out.
'We are working closely with Her Majesty's government on restoring confidence and security among the shipping community so that trade can continue to flow freely through the region over the coming days,' the chamber's chief executive Bob Sanguinetti was quoted as saying.
Some owners and operators of the 4,569 ships registered with the UK group of five registries have indicated that switching flags is under consideration, shipping sources told Lloyd's List.
One maritime risk consultancy is already recommending that its clients switch flags.
'In the interests of business continuity, charterers and technical managers are advised to consider the chartering of non-UK connected vessels in the medium to long term,' said Chichester, UK-based Dryad Global in a note.
'Chinese-flagged vessels currently represent the lowest risk of interruption within the Strait of Hormuz, and are highly unlikely to experience any form of disruption by way of detention. All UK vessel owners are advised to consider the relocation of all UK interest vessels from the Persian Gulf when safe to do so, and to remain mindful of the limitations of naval protection.'