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The Lloyd’s List Podcast: The tanker sector is now on a war footing

The Iranian threat is real and we are about as close to armed conflict as we can get, explains BIMCO’s head of security Jakob Larsen on this week’s podcast. Regardless of who carried out the latest attacks in the Middle East, tanker owners now face a serious threat to the safety of crew operating in the region and further disruption could yet scupper markets and ultimately spark a full-blown conflict with shipping stuck in the middle

Listen to the latest edition of Lloyd’s List’s weekly podcast — your weekly briefing on the stories shaping shipping in the week ahead

TANKER companies are worried. Very worried, and understandably so following the second attack on vessels in the Middle East in as many months.

Joining Lloyd’s List Editor Richard Meade this week to discuss the security threat posed by the latest round of tanker attacks is BIMCO’s head of security Jakob Larsen, who agrees that the risks to shipping are as high as they have been in more than a decade, if not since the tanker war of the late 1980s.  

Remember — over a third of all oil supplies shipped by sea pass through the narrow, politically charged waterway that is apparently under attack from state actors as yet unknown.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks but the US, followed by several allies equally suspicious of current motivations, have pointed the finger firmly at Tehran.

Like everyone else, we’ve been looking at pictures closely, and the “limpet mine” said to be on Japanese tanker isn’t convincing everyone. Security sources have offered us theories from ranging from Iranian conspiracy to other national actors trying to stir the pot. But the simple truth is we don’t yet have a clear picture.

Meanwhile, shipping is once again stuck in the middle of a geopolitical conflict with very little protection.

While few are yet predicting shipping through the Strait of Hormuz will grind to a halt, at a minimum shippers are likely to face higher insurance costs. A larger disruption would almost certainly lead to a sharp increase in the price of crude oil, which would be of little help to an already stuttering global economy.

As the chairman of Intertanko Paolo d’Amico succinctly put it to us yesterday: “I am extremely worried about the safety of our crews going through the Strait of Hormuz.

“If the waters are becoming unsafe, the supply to the entire western world could be at risk.”

Don’t forget, you can now subscribe to the Lloyd’s List Podcast via iTunes and Spotify, as well as most other podcast providers. And make sure you are registered for a free account on Lloydslist.com so you can receive our Daily Briefing e-mail.

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