Authorities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates banned ships operating under the flag of Qatar or belonging to Qatari companies to dock in the ports and entering in territorial waters of the countries. The decision follows the breaking off diplomatic ties with Doha and strained relations between the neighboring countries. The General Administration of the Ports of Saudi Arabia ordered the port agent companies to comply with the instruction to refuse ships under the flag of Qatar or belonging to Qatari companies in the ports of the Kingdom. The authorities in United Arab Emirates also issued similar order to agents and port administrations.
“All shipping agents must comply with the order not to accept ships under the flag of Qatar or vessels belonging to Qatari citizens and companies”, says the official statement of the General Administration of the Ports of Saudi Arabia.
The move raised fears of disruption to oil and gas shipments from Qatar, as the country is OPEC member and the world’s top seller of liquefied natural gas (LNG), produces around 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day, but not so big crude exporter. However, the shipping ban will make the logistics of buying Qatari crude and condensate much harder.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt announced a break in diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorist organizations and destabilizing the situation in the Middle East. The authorities of eastern Libya, Yemen, as well as the Maldives subsequently also announced the severance of relations with Qatar.