Diplomatic sources and officials of Kuwait Oil Tanker Company (KOTC), the company responsible for shipping the country’s oil and other hydrocarbon cargoes from Kuwait, have categorically denied that there were plans to fly foreign flags on Kuwaiti oil tankers as a precaution against attacks in the Gulf waters.
The officials said that though Kuwait had flown US, Russian and other Western countries’ flags on Kuwaiti ships during the Iran-Iraq conflict in the 1980s, the situation in 2019 was not the same. They were referring to the repeated attacks on oil tankers in Gulf waters off the UAE coat in May and last week’s attack on two ships in the Gulf of Oman.
The current confrontation is between the United States and Iran, and there was no imminent danger to Kuwaiti tankers said the diplomat. However, KOTC was taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety of its vessels and its operations, including communicating with international entities responsible for securing the routes of oil tankers, and in coordination with the countries lying along the Gulf coast, as well as intensifying security operations around the tankers during its transit in unsafe waters.
The official also added that while there were no specific discussions on the topic of raising foreign flags among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, nevertheless there was ongoing coordination and cooperation of a general nature on security-linked issues between the GCC countries.