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UK Warlike Operations Area Committee expands recommendations for Merchant Navy vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden

27 December 2023

The UK Warlike Operations Area Committee (WOAC) has agreed to expand the scope of its recommendations for ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, following a spate of attacks.

The recommendations remain the same as agreed earlier in December 2023, but now cover any vessel which:

  • has an owner/management connection with companies that are majority owned by Israeli nationals
  • is owned by a company that is trading to Israel
  • has called at a port in Israel since 21 June 2023, or is scheduled to call at a port in Israel
  • has any other current established link to Israel, or has had at any time since 21 June 2023

The recommendations apply south of latitude 16.5 degrees north within the Southern Red Sea, the Bab al Mandab straits, and the section of the Gulf of Aden west of 53°E and north of a straight line connecting Cape Guardafui and the western tip of the island of Socotra.

They stand from 21 December 2023, and will be reviewed by the WOAC before the end of January 2024 or if the risk changes.

The WOAC consists of Nautilus International, the RMT union and the UK Chamber of Shipping. The independent body provides a forum for shipping companies and seafarer unions to consider threat levels and monitor 'warlike activities' to determine whether war risk service clauses in collective agreements should be invoked.