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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Interesting warning from Maritime Liaison Office Bahrain

Posted here:

BACKGROUND On 24 April 2004, terrorists conducted suicide attacks against the Al Basra Oil Terminal (ABOT) and a Coalition warship near the Khawr Al'Amaya Oil Terminal (KAAOT). The terrorists used ordinary dhows, fishing boats, and speedboats to conduct the attack. Their unlawful actions are intentionally designed to put innocent persons at risk.


RECENT EVENT On 3 February 2006, a cargo dhow sailed into the KAAOT Exclusion Zone after repeated warnings to change course. Coalition Maritime Forces and KAAOT security forces warned the dhow via bridge-to-bridge VHF radio, ship mounted loudspeakers, the firing of flares and other means. The cargo dhow was repeatedly warned to turn and repeatedly failed to do so. Only after shots were fired, did the dhow finally comply. Thankfully, no lives were lost in this incident.

All mariners are reminded to identify themselves and make their intentions known when operating near Coalition warships. If queried, mariners should immediately clearly identify themselves, state their intentions, and if given directions from Coalition warships, they should promptly execute such directions so as to make their intentions known. Mariners are reminded that Coalition warships are prepared to take defensive measures, including if necessary the use of deadly force, against any contact whose identity or intentions are unknown or which poses a threat.

WARNING AND EXCLUSION ZONES Warning zones are established around the Khawr Al'Amaya Oil Terminal and the Al Basra Oil Terminal as follows:

Khawr Al'Amaya Oil Terminal (GEOREF 29-46.8n, 048- 48.5e). The warning zone extends 3,000 meters from the outer edge of the terminal structure, in all directions, creating a racetrack shape 6,990 meters long by 6,107 meters wide, oriented northwest to southeast, centered on the terminal. This warning zone is distinct from, and in addition to, the exclusion zone established later in this advisory.

Al Basra Oil Terminal was formerly known as the Mina Al Bakr Oil Terminal (GEOREF 29-40.8n, 048-48.5e). This warning zone extends 3,000 meters from the outer edge of the terminal structure, in all directions, creating a racetrack shape 7,030 meters long by 6,107 meters wide, oriented northwest to southeast, centered on the terminal. This warning zone is distinct from, and in addition to, the exclusion zone established later in this advisory.

VLCC traffic to the terminals remains at high levels. In addition to berthing and departing VLCCs and assisting tugs, Coalition warships conducting maritime security patrols maneuver unpredictably within the Warning Zone.

Vessels are advised to remain clear of the ABOT and KAAOT Warning Zones. Transit should not require entry into the Warning Zones. If transit requires entry into the Warning Zone, vessels are required to contact Coalition Maritime Security forces via marine VHF Channel 16, identify themselves, and make transit intentions known. If Coalition Maritime Security forces advise a vessel to depart the warning area, the vessel should immediately depart.

Additionally, EXCLUSION ZONES are established and the right of innocent passage is temporarily suspended in accordance with international law around the KAAOT and ABOT oil terminals within Iraqi territorial waters. The exclusion zones extend 2,000 meters from the outer edges of the terminal structures in all directions.

Only tankers and support vessels authorized by terminal operators or Coalition Maritime Security Forces are allowed to enter the exclusion zones. VESSELS ATTEMPTING TO ENTER THE ZONES WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION MAY BE SUBJECT TO DEFENSIVE MEASURES, including when necessary, the use of deadly force. All reasonable efforts will be taken to warn vessels before employing deadly force; however, deadly force will be employed when necessary to protect Coalition maritime security forces, legitimate shipping present in the exclusion zones, and the oil terminals.

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