Nearly 40 ships with ownership ties to Norwegian investors have been in or around Hormuz and the gulfs on both sides this week. They’re braving threats of arrest or sabotage amid high political tension but also higher oil prices and chartering rates.
Norway’s venerable shipping industry has long lived with political risk around the world. The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NSA) is nonetheless “taking the situation seriously,” and advising owners and operators to follow the advice of the Norwegian maritime directorate.
“We’re first and foremost concerned about the safety of seafarers, the ships and their cargoes,” John Hammersmark, director of preparedness for NSA (Norges Rederiforbund), told state broadcaster just a few days after Iran’s revolutionary guard arrested a vessel with ownership and registration ties to Sweden at the UK.
The Norwegian government still hasn’t taken a position on a US request to join a US-initiated military coalition aimed at protecting vessels in the area. Concerns are high that such a coalition would contribute towards escalation of political tension in the area, especially between the US and Iran.