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UAE stops participation in US-led task force in Persian Gulf

The United Arab Emirates is no longer taking part in operations by a US-led task force that aims to protect Gulf shipping, it said on May 31st.

The UAE was responding to a Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday which said that the Gulf state was frustrated by the lack of US response to recent tanker seizures by Iran.

Five weeks ago, Iran seized two tankers within a week in Gulf waters near the Strait of Hormuz, the first being the Advantage Sweet (IMO 9587192). The second tanker, the Niovi (IMO 9292498), had been travelling from Dubai in the Gulf toward the UAE’s Arabian Sea port of Fujairah (IMN May 5th).

The UAE said that this was a mischaracterization of conversations between the two countries. However, it conceded that it had stopped taking part in the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which are headquartered at the US naval base in Bahrain, as long as two months ago.

But the UAE said that it had not left the CMF – which was formed in 2001 to help counter international terrorism. It said that it remained one of the 38 partner nations working on security, counter-terrorism and counter-piracy in the Red Sea and Gulf regions.

The UAE statement did not make clear why it had stopped participating or whether it would rejoin, stating only that it was committed to dialogue and diplomatic engagement to advance regional security and stability, and also to ensuring navigation safety in its seas in accordance with international law.

A US official confirmed the UAE remained a CMF partner nation. He told Reuters that the UAE was broadly concerned with what actions would be taken in response to tanker seizures, just as it was after Iran-backed Houthi missile strikes on the UAE in January 2022, or any other destabilizing activity close to home.

2005-built, Panama-flagged, 160,046 gt Niovi is owned by Grand Financing Co care of manager Smart Tankers Inc of Piraeus, Greece. It is entered with West of England Club (Claims Team Greece) on behalf of Grand Financing Co.

2012-built, Marshall Islands-flagged, 81,453 gt Advantage Sweet is owned by SPDBFL One Hundred Eighty-7 care of manager Genel Denizcilik Nakliyati AS of Itanbul, Turkey. It is entered with West of England Club (Eastern Claims team) on behalf of SPDBFL No One Hundred and Eighty-Seven (Tianjin) Ship Leasing Co Ltd. According to Refinitiv ship tracking data, the Advantage Sweet had been chartered by oil major Chevron.

Source: Insurance Marine News 1st June 2023

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