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Saudi and Bahraini restrictions in respect of Iran

The Club’s correspondents in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, have reported that the security authorities of those two Kingdoms have imposed restrictions on dealings with Iranian vessels or vessels that have recently visited Iran.

It is reported that both Kingdoms have banned their domestic entities from entering into transactions with Iranian-flagged vessels, and banned Iranian-registered/-flagged vessels from their ports. The Saudi Port Authority has also confirmed that the Saudi prohibitions extend to prohibiting the entry into Saudi ports of any ship carrying cargo of Iranian origin, including for transhipment purposes.

In addition, in respect of Bahrain but not Saudi Arabia, correspondents have reported that, whilst they have not seen official confirmation from relevant Governmental authorities, additional restrictions as set out below may also be implemented:

  • no vessel, of any Flag State, may enter a Bahraini port if its last call was at an Iranian port, and that if any one of its previous three port calls was at Iran, approval for entry must be sought from the Bahraini Government;
  • the prohibitions/restrictions against entry to Bahrain may be extended to apply to any vessel which has called at an Iranian port on any of its previous ten port calls;
  • ships subject to Bahraini jurisdiction are prohibited from calling at any Iranian port.

Members with vessels employed in the Middle East region on terms that could allow employment between these countries, are advised to seek advice from local agents and/or port authorities as to how these measures are being implemented in practice.

Although the position is not clear at this stage, these developments gives rise to the possibility of vessel and/or trade movements between these countries being construed as unlawful by the Bahraini/Saudi/Iranian authorities. In turn this could give rise to Club cover issues, in the event of there being any resulting claims liabilities attributable to breaches of these restrictions. Members who are concerned that their vessels may be affected by these restrictions should seek guidance from their usual Club contact.

The Managers will continue to monitor the situation and report developments through further website updates.