Maritime security firm MAST has warned the shipping industry to enhance security levels to counter the threat of an increasingly likely terrorist attack.
The company released the warning particularly to oil tankers, as terrorist group Al-Qaeda hinted that it is planning to execute strategic attacks on choke points of oil shipments.
The terrorist group insinuated this in its first issue of Resurgence, an English digital propaganda magazine posted to the terrorist group's online forum Shamikh1.info.
MAST COO Gerry Northwood OBE said: "They have potential to do real harm to maritime activity in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and particularly in the key strategic choke points, namely the Straits of Gibraltar, the Straits of Hormuz, the Suez Canal or the Bab El Mendeb Strait.
"It is vital to have well worked-up security procedures in place and to maintain heightened levels of alertness at all times."
According to MAST, choke points, harbours and constrained areas are the most vulnerable places where terrorists have a good chance of accurately targeting a vessel.
In the wake of this, crew training and awareness along with citadel drills will help to handle the situations.
In addition, the presence of armed guards or unarmed security advisors will provide a greater level of security onboard.
In September, Al-Qaeda had tried to hijack a Pakistan Navy frigate, NS Zulfiqar, and aimed to target US Navy vessels on anti-terrorism patrol in the north-western Indian Ocean.