Global shipping industry urges for better UN measures to protect ships, crew amid rising tensions in Middle East

(MENAFN) In a letter issued on Friday, prominent associations within the global shipping industry voiced growing concerns over the heightened risks faced by commercial ships and seafarers in the Middle East region. The letter, addressed to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, urged for enhanced measures to safeguard supply chains amidst escalating tensions across the Middle East.

The escalation of tensions in the region can be traced back to the commencement of the Israeli military operation in Gaza in October, resulting in repeated clashes between Israel or its ally, the United States, and groups aligned with Iran in various countries including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Against this backdrop, the associations highlighted the increasing frequency of attacks targeting commercial ships, posing significant threats to maritime security and global trade.

Of particular concern was the recent seizure of the container ship named Aris by Iran on April 13 while it was navigating through the Strait of Hormuz. The letter emphasized that such incidents underscored the perilous situation confronting maritime shipping, with innocent sailors losing their lives and others being held hostage. The associations underscored the urgent need for concerted international action to address these challenges and ensure the safety of ships and their crew members.

Drawing attention to the disparity in global response, the letter likened the gravity of maritime incidents to those involving commercial airlines, highlighting the apparent lack of equivalent attention and concern. Despite the severity of the situation, the associations lamented the absence of a unified and robust response from the international community to address these maritime security threats effectively.

Recent developments concerning the detained crew members of the Aris also garnered attention, with the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirming that one Indian crew member, who served as a sailor on the ship, had returned to the country. The ministry stated that efforts were underway to establish communication with the remaining 16 Indian crew members still detained aboard the vessel, emphasizing the importance of securing their safe release.



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