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September 11, 2002

Navy warning to tankers
Following is the text of a notice issued by the U.S. Navy Maritime Liaison Office in Bahrain:

MARLO Advisory Bulletin 04-02

The following information was provided to MARLO by higher authorities. We are passing it to keep you informed of ongoing activity that may affect your shipping operations and planning.

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According to unconfirmed reports circulating within the regional shipping community, the Al Qaeda terrorist group has planned attacks against oil tankers transiting the Arabian Gulf and Horn of Africa areas. While the U.S. Navy has no specific details on the timing or means of the planned attacks, and there are no indications than an attack is imminent, the threat should be regarded seriously. This reporting substantiates previous indications of Al Qaeda intent to attack commercial shipping as a means of creating economic instability. Shipmasters should exercise extreme caution when transiting strategic chokepoints such as the Strait of Hormuz or Bab-el-Mandeb, or sailing in traditional high-threat areas such as along the Horn of Africa and other confined waters.

Coalition forces are alert to the potential threat and are currently on patrol in the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, and Gulf of Oman.

U.S. flagged merchant vessels and vessels effectively working under U.S. control are reminded to consult NIMA Publication 117, "Radio Navigation Aids," for emergency reporting procedures. Non-U.S. flagged merchant vessels are urged to review standing flag state and regional emergency notification procedures.

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