London P&I reports on Qatar blockade

London P&I has updated its Members on the developing Qatar situation. Various Gulf nations, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, announced on June 5th that they were halting diplomatic and trading ties with Qatar. Qatari citizens and diplomats were given two weeks’ notice to leave.

Local correspondents in the Gulf have updated London P&I as follows:

UAE:

Club Correspondent in Dubai, Gulf Agency Company (Dubai) LLC, reported that “Jebel Ali immigration has announced that no vessels that are coming from Qatar will be permitted into the port and no clearance will be given to any port calling Qatar from Jebel Ali.”

The Port of Fujairah issued a Notice to Mariners on Monday advising that vessels flying flags of Qatar or vessels destined to or arrival from Qatar ports would not be allowed to call at Port of Fujairah or Fujairah Offshore Anchorage regardless of their nature of call, until further notice.

SAUDI ARABIA:

The General Organization of Saudi Sea Ports Authority on Monday evening told all shipping agents not to receive any vessels hoisting the Qatari flag or owned by Qatari companies or individuals, nor to unload any goods of Qatari origin in Saudi ports.

BAHRAIN:

The Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications issued a notice advising that marine navigation from Bahrain Ports and territorial waters to the State of Qatar would be suspended from June 6th.

EGYPT:

Alexandria correspondent Middle East Survey & Control Office said that there had not yet been any action taken concerning the ports, but that it was expected that any vessels flying the Qatari flag would not be permitted to enter Egyptian ports.

In regards to the crossing of the Suez Canal please note that as Egypt & Qatar are not at war then all canal crossing vessels will not be affected in any way; but Qatari crew may be affected if requiring to change in Egypt while crossing the canal. See: http://www.suezcanal.gov.eg/English/About/CanalTreatiesAndDecrees/Pages/ConstantinopleConvention.aspx

London P&I Club said that Members who already have existing contracts which require a call at Qatari ports should give careful consideration as to whether they will be able to fulfil the contract and/or whether they are legally obligated to proceed, if possible before loading any cargo.

The Club further noted that, while current prohibitions were directed towards blocking Qatari flagged vessels from entering the Middle Eastern ports, there was a concern that the UAE might block foreign flagged vessels that have/will call in Qatar. “Should this be implemented and/or if other states follow suit the trading pattern of the ship could be a potential problem”, the Club said.

It therefore advised those considering calling at Qatari ports in the future to analyze fully the implications of calling at Qatar before agreeing so to do, and advised that Members “should be duly diligent in implementing suitable contractual provisions in charterparties and other contracts to try to either avoid such a call or deal with the consequences”.