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Web Alert: Issues at Saudi Arabian and Bahraini ports for vessels trading with Iran

26 February 2016

Given the deterioration of diplomatic relations between Iran and the Kingdom of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the club has been informed by local correspondents of potential problems of vessels calling at Bahraini and Saudi ports, if they have previously called at Iran.

Members should be aware of the following:


  • Iranian flagged ships are not allowed to enter Bahrain
  • A vessel will not be allowed to enter Bahrain if she is coming directly from an Iranian port
  • If a vessel’s 2nd or 3rd last ports have been an Iranian port, special permission has to be obtained from various local authorities for the vessel’s entry into Bahrain

The local correspondents advise that if the last 3 ports have been Iran, it is highly likely that the special permission will be very difficult to obtain and in any event, it is unclear how long this process would take

If in doubt, our local correspondents in Bahrain, GAC Bahrain, recommend trying to obtain confirmation in advance from the port authority prior to the vessel arrival in Bahrain, in order to avoid problems.

 Saudi Arabia:

  • Iranian flagged ships are not allowed to enter Saudi ports
  • There is a ban covering Iranian cargo being imported or transhipped to Saudi ports
  • Any vessel, howsoever flagged, carrying Iranian cargo will not be permitted to call at Saudi ports

We understand from our local correspondents in Saudi Arabia, Mutual Marine Services Al Mushtaraka, that if the above applies, there will be no penalties for vessel's attempting to call at Saudi ports. The vessels will simply be refused entry.