Keeping a watchful eye when trading through strait of Hormuz
Christina Cheh, Vice President - Risk Management & Systems
Since the Fujairah attacks, we have increased our measures to safeguard our owners and crew interest. Everyone is encouraged to heighten their situation awareness to stay vigilant for any abnormalities.
The principles of situation awareness require one to observe the situation, understanding it and projecting ahead. Cultivating a culture that encourages situation awareness is an ongoing focus for us to improve decision making processes.
Though situation awareness is considered part of basic seamanship, this attribute will only thrive in a suitable environment and culture. To maintain high situation awareness as a team, every individual is encouraged to do a self-reflection of his/her state of awareness.
Our standard operating procedure when transiting any high risk areas (HRA) is depicted below:
The following are some general operational guidance we have given to our crew onboard when operating in affected zones:
- Maintain vigilance, all-round surveillance, look out and proceed at best speed
- Plan navigation to stay out of Iranian water and coast and weather, safe navigation permit (WSNP)
- Monitor suspicious crafts, observe those that are heading towards vessel and look out for any suspicious activity
- Report all suspicious sighting to port control, if vessel is outside port, report the sighting to UKMTO (UK Maritime Trade Operations) and Company Security Officer
- Increasing reporting frequency to UKMTO or MSCHOA (Maritime Security Centre- Horn of Africa) and Company Security Officer when vessel is schedule to pass this area
- Maintain awareness via local news media
- Increase security measures to higher level
- For vessels that are approaching coalition naval forces, bridge should maintain radio contact on VHF Channel 16
In light of the Arabian Gulf Crisis, Wilhelmsen Ship Management practices additional procedures on top of the standard operating procedures when transiting HRA:
Increased vigilance and processes after the Arabian Gulf Crisis
Guidance to vessels when transiting Arabian Gulf
While geopolitical situation changes ever so rapidly, seamless communication between shore and onboard during this period is crucial. Relying and acting upon each other’s perception is vital to achieve a pragmatic assessment of the current and anticipated future situation of the vessel.
Situation awareness is one of the most important element of good ship management and in Wilhelmsen Ship Management, it is a skillset that we hone on every individual.
About the Writer
Christina Cheh has been with the Wilhelmsen Group for close to 17 years. Christina’s sailing experiences before coming on shore provides insight to operate and manage ships with HSEQ excellence. She is also one of the key person to bring digitalization into ship/shore reporting processes.