Japanese alert in Strait of Hormuz

Dubai — How safe is the Strait of Hormuz for tankers in transit? The US Navy says all efforts have been made to keep the maritime area safe after last month’s purported terror attack on a Japanese ship. Japanese officials, however, are taking nothing for granted and issued an alert for its ships passing through the region on Friday.


Allan Jacob

Published: Sun 22 Aug 2010, 12:55 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:13 AM

“Ships passing through (the Strait of Hormuz) should be sufficiently alert and need to pay attention to moves by small-sized ships, especially during transit in the night,” the Japanese transport ministry said in a statement on Friday.

This follows an US advisory earlier this month calling on ships to exercise greater vigilance in the strategic strait.

Dr Christian Koch, Director of International Studies at Dubai’s Gulf Research Center, says terror threats in the region’s waterways present a real and present danger and must be taken seriously: “Given that Al Qaeda-linked groups have threatened such attacks in the past, the threat must be taken serious and the likelihood of further attacks cannot be ruled out.”

A US Navy 5th Fleet says it is taking no chances. “The US Navy and its partners in the region are maintaining a high state of vigilance following last month’s purported attack on a Japanese tanker named the M. Star,” according to Lieutenant John Fage, the spokesperson of the Fleet based in Bahrain.

The US Navy and the 24-nation Combined Maritime Forces comb the waters constantly and even held sea drills last month.

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