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May 3, 2004

Iraq exclusion zone

On April 24, terrorist attacks in Basrah cost the lives of two U.S. Navy sailors and inflicted the first Coast Guard combat death since Viet Nam. Now the U.S. Navy's Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO) in Bahrain has issued an advisory stating that an exclusion zone has been established in Iraqi waters within 2,000 meters of the Khawr al Amaya and al Basrah offshore oil terminals. In addition, the right of innocent passage has been temporarily suspended in the same waters.

Here's the text:

MARLO ADVISORY 06-04

1 May 2004

WARNING AND EXCLUSION ZONES AT KHAWR AL'AMAYA OIL TERMINAL (KAAOT) AND AL BASRA OIL TERMINAL (ABOT).

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1. On 24 April 2004, terrorists conducted suicide attacks in small boats against ABOT and a Coalition warship in the vicinity of KAAOT. The terrorists used ordinary dhows, fishing boats, and speedboats to conduct the attack in contravention of the law of armed conflict. Their unlawful actions are intentionally designed to put innocent persons at risk.

2. All mariners are advised to remain clear of Coalition maritime security forces, and to identify themselves and make their intentions known when operating in the vicinity of Coalition warships. If queried, mariners should clearly identify themselves and state their intentions, and if given directions from Coalition warships, they should promptly execute such directions so as to make their intentions known. Mariners are reminded that Coalition warships are prepared to take defensive measures, including if necessary the use of deadly force, against any contact whose identity or intentions are unknown and which poses a threat.

3. Effective immediately, warning zones are established around the Khawr Al'Amaya Oil Terminal (GEOREF 29-46.8n, 048-48.5e) and the Al Basra Oil Terminal, formerly known as the Mina Al Bakr Oil Terminal (GEOREF 29-40.8n, 048-48.5e) as follows:

4. Khawr Al'Amaya Oil Terminal (GEOREF 29-46.8n, 048-48.5e). The warning zone extends 3,000 meters from the outer edge of the terminal structure, in all directions, creating a racetrack shape 6,990 meters long by 6,107 meters wide, oriented northwest to southeast, centered on the terminal. This warning zone is distinct from, and in addition to, the exclusion zone established later in this advisory.

5. Al Basra Oil Terminal, formerly known as the Mina Al Bakr Oil Terminal (GEOREF 29-40.8n, 048-48.5e). The warning zone extends 3,000 meters from the outer edge of the terminal structure, in all directions, creating a racetrack shape 7,030 meters long by 6,107 meters wide, oriented northwest to southeast, centered on the terminal. This warning zone is distinct from, and in addition to, the exclusion zone established later in this advisory.

6. VLCC traffic to the terminals has increased dramatically in the past 6 months and is expected to remain at high levels indefinitely. In addition to berthing and departing VLCCs and assisting tugs, Coalition warships conducting maritime security patrols maneuver unpredictably within the zone.

7. Vessels are advised to remain clear of the warning zones for all but essential transits. If transit requires entry into the zone, vessels are advised to contact Coalition maritime security forces via marine VHF channel 16, identify themselves, and make transit intentions known. If Coalition maritime security forces advise a vessel to depart the warning area, the vessel should immediately depart. Such direction will be given only when necessary to keep the vessel from standing into danger.

8. Additionally, effective immediately, exclusion zones are established and the right of innocent passage is temporarily suspended in accordance with international law around the KAAOT and ABOT oil terminals within Iraqi territorial waters. The exclusion zones extend 2,000 meters from the outer edges of the terminal structures in all directions.

9. Only tankers and support vessels authorized by terminal operators or Coalition maritime security forces are allowed to enter the exclusion zones. Vessels attempting to enter the zones without authorization may be subject to defensive measures, including when necessary, the use of deadly force. All reasonable efforts will be taken to warn vessels away before employing deadly force; however, deadly force will be employed when necessary to protect Coalition maritime security forces, legitimate shipping present in the exclusion zones, and the oil terminals.

10. Questions regarding this advisory may be directed to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, IZMS Coordinator (N31CGA), FPO AE 09501 6008, tel: 973-17-85-4627 or 973-17-85-4839, fax: 973-17-85-9117 or 973-17-85-4344, or the U.S. Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO) Bahrain, tel: 973-17-85-3925, fax: 973-17-85-3930.

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