The U.K.’s Warlike Operations Area Committee (WOAC) has temporarily designated the Strait of Hormuz as a High-Risk Area from August 2, following government advice to avoid the area unless accompanied by U.K. naval support.
The committee, comprised of trades unions Nautilus International and RMT, and the U.K. Chamber of Shipping, met for an extraordinary meeting on July 29.
According to Nautilus, the temporary agreement applies to all vessels entered into the U.K. Chamber and the clauses are invoked if flag state and industry guidance is not complied with.
That includes U.K. flagged vessels that refuse a military accompanied transit and vessels that do not take account of relevant guidance from industry bodies such as OCIMF, INTERTANKO, BIMCO and ICS.
The agreement gives seafarers the right to refuse to work onboard vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz. Crew can request to leave the ship at a preceding port, for example.
Seafarers on vessels transiting the area could also receive double basic pay from August 2, in recognition of the higher risks associated with transiting and operating in the zone.
Double basic pay would apply to each day the ship is in the specified zone. The payments are in addition to all other remuneration earned.
The agreement will cover the sea area covered by the U.K. Government definition of the territorial limits of the Strait of Hormuz:
On the West: A line joining Ra’s-e Dastakan (26°33’N – 55°17’E) in Iran, southward to Jaztal Hamra lighthouse (25°44’N – 55°48’E), in the United Arab Emirates (the common limit with the Persian Gulf).
On the East: A line joining Ra’s Līmah (25°57’N – 56°28’E), in Oman, eastward to Ra’s al Kūh (25°48’N – 57°18’E), in Iran (the common limit with the Arabian Sea).
The designation will be reviewed on September 2 or earlier if advice from the British Government changes.
The U.K. Department for Transport raised the Ship Security Level to 3 in July following several attacks on tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and the seizure of U.K. flagged Stena Impero, which remains offshore Iran with 23 seafarers onboard.