Following the escalation of diplomatic tensions between Western countries and Iran, involving aggressive action against merchant shipping and Iran’s seizure of the British-flagged, Swedish-owned oil tanker Stena Impero and its 23 crew, the International Bargaining Forum (IBF) is holding discussions on the safety of vessels transiting through the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz. There are shared concerns across the shipping industry that seafarers have been caught up in a diplomatic situation affecting their right to safe passage in these waters.
David Heindel, member of the Seafarers’ Rights International Advisory Board and chair of the ITF Seafarers Section, said: “Such exposure of seafarers working on merchant vessels to life and safety risks is totally unacceptable. Our concerns for their welfare are equally shared by all constituents of the IBF.
“We jointly call for a diplomatic solution to the situation and to de-escalate tensions in the region, urging governments to use maximum efforts to have the crew of the Stena Impero released. We also call on governments to assure safe passage of commercial vessels in the Straits of Hormuz.’”
The parties of the IBF have made a commitment to monitor the situation over the coming week and re-group for discussions next week.