On 12 May 2019 four oil tankers were attacked at anchor off Fujairah. According to a press release from the Missions to the UN of the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Norway and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of 7 June 2019, preliminary findings from that investigation indicate that the attacks were caused by limpet mines placed on the vessels by divers as “part of a sophisticated and coordinated operation carried out by an actor with significant operational capacity, most likely a state actor.”
In the aftermath the Joint War Committee included Oman, Persian or Arabian Gulf and adjacent waters including the Gulf of Oman west of Longitude 58°E, and United Arab Emirates in the “Listed areas”. Additional Premiums for entering these waters came into effect in the beginning of June.
On 13 June 2019, the two tankers Front Altair and Kokuka Courageous suffered explosion incidents in the Gulf of Oman causing major damage to the vessels. International tension has risen further since then. The United States and Saudi Arabia have suggested Iran is responsible, a claim Tehran has denied. On 20 June Iran shot down a US surveillance drone which they argued was in Iranian territory, pushing the conflict to the brink of war. The escalation has since decelerated.
After these incidents the threat towards shipping, and particularly to tankers, is perceived as high in this area. All vessels are advised to operate with a heightened level of security in the Gulf of Oman/Strait of Hormuz/Persian Gulf region.
Additional premiums for entering the area have increased significantly. Market sources suggest that AP rates range from 0.2% to 0.4%, and that certain Underwriters have given 7 days’ notice of cancellation on policies where “fixed rate” facilities have been arranged for the excluded areas added to the JWLA24 dated 17 May 2019, i.e. United Arab Emirates / Oman / Persian (Arabian) Gulf west of 58 ̊ East.