Created: 12/2/1987

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Special Analysis

Tanker War

arracks by Iran end Iraq continued at relatively high levola lest month, triggering new etteeta by thippart to protect their Interests. Tehran, meanwhile, la aaeklng to Improve lta loan-form antithlp capability* by acquiring new wotpon ir*terni

Confirmed strikes on ships by Iran and Iraq last month wore above the monthly averages for this yeer, maintaining the higher rate of such attacks since August. The number of ships attacked, however, is SfJI small, as compared with the total number ol ships salting the Persian Golf. The effect of the attacks on oil prices last month wss mrninjai overproduction bymember* continued to erode prices]

Neutral commercial shippers are taking additional steps to limit damage to their assets In the region. On two occasions last month, ships tried and tailed to deceive Iran by using false name* andajor oil company decided to withhold Its tankers from the Gulf after It and several countries ac jnsorlng flags of convenience failed to persuade Washington to eecort US-owned slaps there ftytng non-US flags. Other on companies have expressed concern about the safety of tenkers. but such expressions are probebiy an excuse to avoid having to Dfl crude at official prices now that ar^bondanoe of cheaper oil la available from other suppliers.


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