Vessels which have loaded in Qatar and wish to bunker in Fujairah, the UAE, may be able to do so as long as they are not Qatari-flagged or owned, law firm Ince & Co informed citing the Port of Fujairah’s updated circular.
Initially, the port banned the calls of Qatari-flagged ships in addition to any ships destined for or arriving from Qatari ports.
The newest move of the Port of Fujairah comes after the Federal Transport Authority (FTA) issued a notice on June 11 to all UAE ports and ship agents making clear that in order to implement the decision of the Government of the UAE on severing relations with Qatar, all ports must not receive any Qatari-flagged or owned vessels, load or discharge any cargo of Qatari origin and load UAE cargo to Qatar.
“The FTA notice differs in substance to notices which have been issued by some of the ports within the UAE during the course of the last week, and it will be interesting to see how the measures are now implemented. Of particular relevance is the fact that there is no reference to vessels not being given port clearance if the last port of call or next port of call is Qatar,” Rania Tadros, Managing Partner, Ince & Co Dubai, commented.
Shipping and transportation companies with cargo interests in Qatar have been advised to plan for “a period of disruption and uncertainty” after a number of Qatar’s neighbors and other countries decided to cut diplomatic ties and close borders with this Middle Eastern state.
Following the initial notice of the Port of Fujairah, DP World has applied the same prohibition to its UAE ports and extended this to cover vessels loading or unloading cargo intended for Qatar.
In addition, Abu Dhabi Ports Company has issued a similar circular.
As explained by Tadros, there has been no suggestion from the Egyptian authorities that they will extend their actions to include restricting access to the Suez Canal for Qatari vessels and cargo.
“It is uncertain at this time what the consequences will be for transshipment cargo as a result of the disruption to air, sea and land links, although shipping interests are exploring whether this could present a practical alternative for cargo intended for Qatar,” according to Ince & Co.
“It is understood that Omani ports have already seen some ships diverted and Singapore is reportedly noting an increase in volume of bunker sales…Of the countries who have severed ties, the UAE and Egypt are importers of Qatari LNG,” the law firm added.