Red Sea Perils: A Navigator’s Handbook For Maritime Resilience


  • Houthi rebel attacks prompt trade route changes and operational suspensions.
  • Practical responses, including BMP5 compliance and MSTC utilization, are recommended.
  • Analysis of charterparty clauses (CONWARTIME, VOYWAR) regarding termination and war risk premiums.
  • The circular provides concise guidance, emphasizing collaboration and documentation for navigating challenges.

The maritime industry faces a renewed threat as attacks in the Red Sea, primarily orchestrated by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, escalate. The attacks, occurring mainly in December, are aimed at vessels connected to Israeli ports or owned by Israeli entities, causing substantial disruptions to global trade. Notably, oil major BP and other major trade businesses, including Maersk and MSC, have suspended shipping operations via the Red Sea. Approximately 12% of global trade and 40% of Asia-Europe trade passes through this vital waterway.

Practical Issues

In response to the evolving threat, the circular offers practical recommendations:

  • Drawing from historical responses to piracy, proactive measures are suggested, including compliance with “Recommended Best Practice” like BMP5.
  • The Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC) is reaffirmed as a crucial tool, amalgamating key transit routes to enhance security.
  • The United States’ proposal for a naval task force and heightened sanctions against Iranian-backed networks are discussed, emphasizing the need for proactive measures to avoid potential risks.

Legal Implications

The circular delves into legal aspects, particularly charterparty clauses:

  • Analysis of charterparty clauses such as CONWARTIME and VOYWAR is provided in case of attacks, addressing the conflict between charterer’s directions and owner’s responsibility to avoid war risks.
  • Considerations for charterers terminating charterparties and potential off-hire situations are explored, balancing safety concerns and contractual obligations.
  • The impact of additional war risk premiums on vessels passing through high-risk areas is detailed, highlighting the financial implications for stakeholders.

Additional Considerations

The circular explores various additional considerations:

  • Deviation implications under the Hague Visby Rules are discussed, emphasizing the complexity arising from different jurisdictional interpretations.
  • Options such as employing armed guards, alternative port nominations, and decisions not to sail are examined in light of potential legal and operational consequences.
  • Cargo liability and potential breach of bill of lading contracts due to re-routing are explored, emphasizing the need for careful consideration and consultation.

Final Recommendations

The circular concludes with practical recommendations for maritime stakeholders:

  • Stakeholders are advised to consult with the Club for guidance on invoking specific clauses, ensuring compliance with notice requirements.
  • Collaborative efforts between owners and charterers are encouraged for effective mitigation, considering the dynamic nature of the situation.Documentation of evidence is stressed for potential disputes, underlining the importance of a clear record of events.

In essence, the circular provides a comprehensive roadmap for navigating the complex challenges posed by the Red Sea attacks, urging stakeholders to remain vigilant and collaborative in their approach. You can access the circular from the source link provided below.

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Source: Westpandi


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