Shipping Industry Pleads With UN For “Enhanced Military Presence” As Maritime Choke-Point Chaos Spreads

Exactly one week ago, Iranian commandos seized a container ship affiliated with Israel as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz. This action sparked new fears of another maritime chokepoint becoming disrupted as the crisis in the Middle East escalated. It also prompted a plea by the international shipping industry to the United Nations, urging an increase in military patrols along key shipping routes. 

First reported by the maritime news website gGaptain, an open letter co-signed by 16 maritime industry associations and social partners, calls for urgent assistance and reminds countries about their responsibilities under international law.  

“However, the incident this weekend, when the vessel MSC Aries was seized by Iranian forces at 06.37 UTC – 50 nautical miles north-east of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates on Saturday 13 April, has once again highlighted the intolerable situation where shipping has become a target. This is unacceptable,” the signatories of the letter stated. 

“Given the continually evolving and severe threat profile within the area, we call on you for enhanced coordinated military presence, missions and patrols in the region, to protect our seafarers against any further possible aggression,” they said, adding, “The industry associations ask that all member states be formally reminded of their responsibilities under international law. And we ask that all efforts possible are brought to bear to release the seafarers and protect the safe transit of ships.” 

After the MSC Aries seizure in the Strait of Hormuz, we published a note titled “Heading For Supply Shock? Four Maritime Chokepoints Flash Red As Escalating Conflict Looms,” outlining the maritime chokepoints, including the Suez Canal, Bab-El Mandeb Strait, and Strait of Hormuz, through which a quarter of all global trade flows, that are experiencing increased conflict. 

In a recent note, MUFG provided a global snapshot of the world’s maritime chokepoints. 

The team at ING Global Markets Research warned last week, “Global shipping routes are already heavily impacted from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden because of ongoing geopolitical strife. If the Strait of Hormuz is in any way disrupted, the impact on oil and global trade could be huge.” 

Disruptions along critical maritime chokepoints in the Middle East are a direct result of the failed foreign policy decisions pushed by the Biden administration and former President Obama. Furthermore, the inability of Western militaries to secure the southern Red Sea through Operation Prosperity Guardian is a sign of weakness as the world fractures into a multipolar state of chaos. 

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