EmergencyList of Vessels

Yemen port situation

SUMMARY

The Yemeni Red Sea Ports of Hodeida and Saleef are reported as open and operational, despite the Yemeni Houthis' recent attacks on commercial vessel in the Southern Red Sea. However, the overall security situation in Yemen and its surrounding seas areas is fragile and we recommend evaluating all port calls on a case-by-case basis.

Published 20 February 2024

Updated 21 March 2024

Despite the increase in geopolitical tensions in the Southern Red Sea since the commencement of the Israel-Gaza conflict, most Yemeni ports are reported as operational. However, commercial vessels transiting the Southern Red Sea, Bab el Mandeb Strait, and Gulf of Aden continue to be at an elevated risk due to the many attacks by the Houti forces and the situation remains highly changeable. Vessels are therefore advised to conduct a thorough ship and voyage-specific threat and risk assessment in line with shipping industry best practices prior to heading towards Yemen.Please refer to our alert Red Sea – Situation Update for relevant advice

Port situation

According to information received from our correspondent Gulf Agency Co. (Yemen) Ltd. (GAC), the port situation in Yemen is reported to be as follows:

Working: Aden, Rudhum Oil Terminal, Mukalla, Ash Shihr Oil Terminal, Nishtun, Mokha, Saleef, Hodeidah, and Ras Isa Petroleum Products Reception Facility

Closed: Ras Isa Marine Terminal (FSO Safer) and Balhaf LNG Terminal

It is also worth noting that the ongoing conflict in Yemen has triggered special entry conditions for those port calls and coastal operations that are still taking place, see below for details. Vessels attempting to enter Yemeni ports may therefore experience postponements and delays due to the enforcement of these conditions.

Port entry conditions triggered by the ongoing conflict

Shipping companies or owners shipping commercial goods or services, including bilateral assistance not channelled through a UN agency or a recognised international humanitarian organisation, to ports not under the direct control of the Government of Yemen must obtain prior clearance from the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM). Complete clearance requests should be submitted no later than five days prior to the vessel's arrival at the outer limits of these ports and preferably before the departure of the vessel from its port of loading, depending on the availability of the vessel's documents. Any clearance request received after this period will incur delays in the clearance process. For more details, including the UNVIM standard operating procedures, list of requested documents, and the clearance request form, please refer to the UNVIM website: https://www.vimye.org.

Vessels calling at ports that are under the control of the Government of Yemen must continue to apply for entry permissions through the Yemeni Ministry of Transportation using the form: Entry permission for commercial and relief ships to Yemeni ports. The form should be completed and sent by email to the Operations Unit of the Supreme Relief Committee at: yemen.transport@gmail.com no less than a week before the vessel's entry/arrival.

Entry to Yemeni territorial waters will be granted only following an inspection by the naval forces of Saudi Arabian-led coalition. Once a vessel reaches the outskirts of Bab-el-Mandeb, some 3nm from Yemen's territorial waters, a notice of arrival must be called in by the Master on VHF channel 16. The naval forces of the Saudi Arabian-led coalition will then advice where the vessel should anchor pending completion of the inspection and approval of the port entry. Once the vessel is permitted to enter port, the Master must register the vessel's arrival with the port authorities (on VHF Channel 14 or 16) and will then be assigned an anchoring position until the berthing time is confirmed by the Harbour Master.

Recommendations

Given the current situation in Yemen and the Southern Red Sea region, ship operators are advised to:

  • Warn their vessels' crews of the volatility of the situation and carry out an assessment of the risks involved prior to entering Yemeni waters.

  • Make frequent checks with local sources of information, e.g. vessel's agent, Gard's correspondent, etc., to obtain the most up to date and reliable operational and security information available at any given time. Information may also be obtained via GAC's website under "Hot Port News".

  • Take all necessary precautions to ensure compliance with the authorities' current port control measures and the safety of the vessel and its crew, including the above vessel port clearance procedures.

  • Clarify the status of a port's services well before arrival as availability of cranes, fuel, manpower, etc. may be reduced.

We would also like to emphasise the importance of closely following the guidance provided by the BMP5 - Best Management Practises To Deter Piracy And Enhance Maritime Security In The red Sea, Gulf Of Aden, Indian Ocean And Arabian Sea when operating in this region. Vessels should register with the Maritime Security Center Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) and report to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), to ensure that the military is aware of their presence in the region, and use the Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC), which is a military established corridor upon which naval forces focus their presence and surveillance efforts. Reference is also made to the 5 February 2024 Interim Industry Transit Advice, Southern Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden and the 23 December 2023 Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Guidance for Shipping Nvigationg the Southern Red Sea

We thank Gard's correspondent Gulf Agency Co. (Yemen) Ltd. for their assistance in the preparation of this update.

The US International Port Security Program

In accordance with its latest Port Security Advisory the US Coast Guard (USCG) has determined that, with exception of Balhaf LNG Terminal, ports in Yemen are not maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures. The USCG has separate more stringent, security protocols in place for ships arriving to the US from Balhaf. Ships planning to arrive to the US from Balhaf should contact the relevant USCG Captain of the Port well in advance. However, at the time of writing, Balhaf Terminal is reported to be closed.

Under the US Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), the USCG is required to assess the effectiveness of antiterrorism measures implemented in foreign ports from which US documented vessels and foreign vessels depart on a voyage to the US and other foreign ports believed to pose a security risk to international maritime commerce. As ports with ineffective antiterrorism measures are identified, this information is published in the Federal Register and the USCG will impose conditions of entry on vessels arriving in the US that visited such ports as one of their last five ports of call. Under the conditions of entry, affected vessels must:

  • implement measures as per the ship's security plan equivalent to security level 2 while in port in Yemen;

  • ensure that each access point to the ship is guarded and that the guards have total visibility of the exterior (both landside and waterside) of the vessel while it is in port in Yemen;

  • attempt to execute a declaration of security while in port in Yemen; log all security actions in the ship's security records; and

  • report the actions taken to the relevant Coast Guard captain of the port prior to arrival in US waters.

  • Any affected vessel that does not meet the stipulated conditions may be denied entry into the US.

The complete list of ports considered to have ineffective antiterrorism measures along with the associated conditions of entry are included in the policy notices available on the US Coast Guard website: International Port Security Programs.

Other Gard material

Stay updated

Get updates from Gard in your inbox. Read our latest news and insights.

Sign up

LinkedIn

@gard_insurance

Facebook

WhistleblowingTransparency ActComplaintsCode of ethics and business conductSupplier Code of ConductCommitment to the UN Global CompactModern Slavery Act statementDisclaimerCookies and data protection

Gard is a member of