Oil Tanker Attacks In The Gulf Of Oman & What It Means For The Preparedness Community

 

 

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When Matt and I woke up this morning and sat down to drink our coffee, he was quickly telling me of the concerning situation that developed in the early hours in the Gulf of Oman near the United Arab Emirates.

Earlier today the Japanese shipping company Kokuka Sangyo reported the Kokuka Courageous had been attacked. The vessel was carrying 25,000 tons of methanol.

Iranian officials have reported that they rescued 44 sailors from the tankers earlier today.

The Norwegian tanker, Front Altair, is rumored to have been hit by a torpedo according to Tradewinds, a main shipping newspaper. The tanker was carry Naptha which is a main component in gasoline production.

The tankers were near the Strait of Hormuz which is a shipping lane responsible for 19 billion barrels of oil per year.

Oil prices quickly went up 4% and we have yet to see how far they will go.

Because of these attacks it is possible that future oil shipments from the Gulf will be suspended. If this happens, a lot of the world’s oil supply will not be available for export.

This map shows the world oil transit choke points in billions of barrels. The map is based on 2016 figures and shows how many billion barrels pass through these areas. The Strait of Hormuz area is responsible for 19 billion barrels per year.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Association

I am going to include a few links here to various news outlets that are covering the story. I have no allegiance to any particular one. I think you are smart enough to decide what you read and watch.

CNN LIVE COVERAGE

WASHINGTON POST

RT

CBS

This article is going to focus on what people can do to prepare for whatever the situation in the gulf may eventually lead to. I have no desire to get caught up discussing in depth the politics that is involved with the unfolding crisis.

Pay attention to the on going situation.

This situation is developing and at such an early stage it is hard to know exactly how this is going to play out. The groundwork has been laid for this to develop into something much larger. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and this does not lead to full out war.

As a prepared person you should keep up with the story and if the situation escalates then you need to consider your next move.

Here are a few things that could happen if the situation continues to unfold. Please note that this is all theoretical. There are factors and players in all of this that are far beyond anything the average person could know. I think this incident is going to develop over time and it will be a while before we know the full extent of what happened and we may never know the full truth.

Gas prices will go up everywhere

We have been enjoying some pretty low gas prices but I do not think that will last with the tensions in the Middle East escalating.

What you can do to minimize this effect:

  • Try to plan out your driving so that you get as much out of a trip as possible. Instead of making a detour to stop at the grocery store every few days, buy up what you need for the week.
  • Carpool when possible
  • Consider using mail order services for some items that you can wait on. Wal-Mart, and Vitacost all offer 2-day shipping. While shipping costs will go up, these businesses get a lot of subsidies and rate breaks that are not available to smaller retailers. If you are a stay at home Dad or Mom then this can help you avoid hitting the road with a second car as often.
  • Consider letting your kids ride the school bus rather than driving them to and from school every day or at least allow them to ride the school bus home if you usually drop them off on your way to work.
  • Top off your gas tank when it is around the halfway mark. I know a lot of people have long commutes and stations can run out of gas faster than you would expect. I live in a mountainous area that is at the end of the gas supply delivery points when anything happens to oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. My husband and I have seen pumps run out within 36 hours.
  • Store a little extra gas at home if you can. I did an article on gas cans and caddies that may be useful to look at. As a farm and vineyard owner, we have to be careful and keep some fuel on hand so that we can run small machines and use our Kawasaki Mule for work and checking in on my disabled father down the road. It doesn’t take a lot of fuel for us so just putting back what it takes to fill up a regular truck is enough to keep us running on the farm for months if we are careful.

I know that some people really frown on folks for putting back extra fuel during a crisis or topping off their tanks. My opinion is that it is best to put back fuel before a crisis but if you see events unfolding, there is nothing wrong with filling up a few 5-gallon cans so you can keep things going for a while. What is reckless is driving around looking for gas and wasting a lot of it in the process. Going out loafing and socializing when you could stay at home and make it easier on yourself and others that need gas for work is pretty thoughtless too.

Shipping costs will eventually go up so anything you buy that has to be shipped a great distance will go up in cost too.

The cost of shipping goods is always a problem in the United States. I have wrote several investigative pieces over at The Organic Prepper on the challenges facing the shipping industry and the picture is not pretty even without high gas prices. Remember that high gas prices played a big role in the trucker strikes of the 1970s that led to supply disruptions and violence.

Stores like Wal-Mart do not have a ton of large warehouses. They depend on trucks to be rolling all the time to stock their stores. When this is disrupted, you start to see low stock and empty shelves.

Online retailers where shipping is included or you pay a set fee for special shipping privileges, will feel the pain of increased costs but it will take a little longer for you to feel these effects because online retailers do not want to risk losing steady customers and as I said before, the big ones get special rates that help insulate them from increases.

Even the big online retailers will be forced to increase prices if the situation develops from temporary to being the new reality we live in.

What you can do to minimize this effect:

  • Consider purchasing heavy items locally. Stores will always get a better shipping rate than you will if you arrange it privately because they get semis to deliver to their store whereas you have to hire a private freigh company to give you special service. There may also be some older stock that is still priced to reflect the lower shipping costs of the past.
  • Buy some items from online retailers that are closer to you. My husband and I have noticed that buying items from places on the East coast where we live reduces the shipping costs compared to buying from West coast retailers.
  • Buy used items when possible. There are a few things that I never buy new. Jeans are one example. I can always find basically new ones at thrift stores for $5. Consignment shops are another source of nicer clothing for work and school.

Food prices are going to increase more than they usually do when there is an oil crisis because the farmland in the mid west has been devastated by flooding.

A lot of you have been following the devastating floods that have occurred in the midwest. A lot of fields simply are not going to get planted this year. The USA lost millions of cattle and other livestock due to flooding. When this is combined with an oil crisis or war, the effect on food prices could be overwhelming to a nation where so many are already struggling to make ends meet every month.

What you can do to minimize this effect:

  • Purchase some extra food before prices go up a lot
  • Buy some items in bulk to save money. If you know another family that would like to stock up on some things you may be able to purchase items in a larger quantity and split the cost.
  • Check out what is in season at your local farmers markets and preserve some foods for future use.
  • Stop eating out as often or eliminate it entirely. It is very expensive to eat at restaurants already. You can eat very well at home for fast food prices with a little planning. A slow cooker can be a big help. Also consider picking up a copy of a good 30 minute meal book or printing some recipes out from online sources.
  • Consider adding a few laying hens or other livestock to your yard or property.
  • Purchase a few extra months supply of pet foods. Bags of pet food are heavy and thus expensive to ship so you can anticipate that the cost will go up with higher shipping costs and less food coming out of the nation’s breadbasket.

Dealing With Regular Warfare

Tensions are already high in this country. We are more divided than ever. I believe it is a very intentional thing. A divided country does not handle crisis well. If another war breaks out the tension level will skyrocket and various groups will be quick to put blame on each other. This means you need to take steps to avoid trouble and conflict. Like so many things, there will be a lot of shouting, fussing, and general unpleasantness that doesn’t really accomplish much in the long term.

I am going to discuss a few ways to deal with tension. My goal is that you and your loved ones stay safe and do not become victims of circumstances beyond your control. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is all it takes regardless of how you feel about an issue.

Civil Unrest

Protests and rallies are inevitable if a war starts up.

People seem to be very riled up at the moment. I don’t even write about politics directly but since I write about preparedness I am put into a certain category by some. I have lost relationships with friends and family over what I write at Backdoor Survival. I can only imagine what others are going through that write or even voice the slightest opinion on more controversial things. In such volatile times it stands to reason that something slight could provoke an extreme reaction. We live in a time where extreme reactions are the normal course of events rather than a rarity.

Here are a few things you can do to stay safe:

  • Be aware of what is going on in your city. If a protest is planned then avoid the area it is taking place in. If there is a prominent politician speaking or similar, then try to avoid the area if you can possibly do so. For example, if any standing president is speaking in Asheville, you can bet Matt and I are going to make sure that is not the one time a month we head that way to shop.
  • Fortify your home or apartment against projectiles. Window film is an excellent way to provide some shatter protection against anything hurled. If you live near a roadway that is traveled frequently then consider removing any decorative objects or furniture that could be used as a weapon or vandalized. A low profile is important.
  • Add some extra locks or door security
  • Travel with another person
  • Have an alternative route planned to get home if it appears that your typical route is not safe
  • Carry something to defend yourself with. There are a lot of options beyond firearms and knives although they are what I prefer myself. My go-to for carrying is a Bersa Thunder .380 and a Boker Kalashnikov Automatic knife. Here is a link to my post on non-lethal weapons for other options.

Coping With Friends and Family Being In the Military

After hundreds of years of the men in my family being in the military, at the moment I can think of no relation that is an active member but I can say this: I THINK ABOUT THE VIETNAM WAR EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE. I just realized the other day that for years there has not been a day go by that I have not thought about it that I can remember.

It has and always will be a part of my life because of my father and the health effects we have both experienced. The tragedy of war runs deep and it breaks my heart to think of the pain and suffering those in the armed forces and their families will have to endure if war is declared.

I don’t have all the answers, that is for sure. I can’t stop thinking about a war that happened more than 50 years ago but I get by day to day. Here are a few things I can think of that may help those with loved ones and friends in the armed forces. Perhaps some of you that are active duty or that are the family of active duty personnel could add to this in the comments section?

  • Communicate often through letters, video, email, or whatever means is available and practical at the time.
  • Try to think about all the good times and the good times to come
  • Try to spend as much time when them as possible while they are with you
  • Send support packages if possible. Little reminders of home can help morale a lot.
  • Family members and friends should try to be very supportive of spouses, partners, and the children of those in the military. Parents of active duty soldiers also have a particularly rough time. If you have a niece or nephew that has a parent overseas then plan something fun to do with them. There are so many meaningful ways to show that you care and help keep up morale. Those that are overseas will also feel better if they know that they have a good support network to help out loved ones left at home.

Prepping For the Worst Case Scenario

Since I want to cover all aspects of what could unfold when war seems to be a possibility, I cannot help but mention the nuclear threat. I am always fearful that some hot headed leader is going to push the button and unleash a nuclear bomb.

Even a small nuclear bomb could ignite a war of astronomical proportions. There has been a lot written on how to survive a nuclear event. As someone that lives within range of a facility that dismantles nuclear devices and another facility that produces nuclear power, I have other reasons to be concerned besides the potential of a nuclear war of any level.

I will admit that I definitely have radiation tablets put aside for all members of my household. They are inexpensive and I hope we never need them but with so much nuclear power around us and the state of the world’s affairs, I see them as cheap insurance.

Maybe I am just more paranoid than the average person due to my background but I like to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. It is something I cannot help but do because of my ingrained distrust and fear of what officials may do.

From The Trail of Tears to the coal mines and on to Vietnam, the Appalachian mountain folk in my family have learned that it doesn’t pay to have faith in those in major positions of power. You are have to find your own way to survive and thrive despite them.

What is your philosophy on this? How do you handle deciding how far to take your level of preparedness?

Samantha Biggers can be reached at samantha@backdoorsurvival.com

 

 

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9 Responses to “Oil Tanker Attacks In The Gulf Of Oman & What It Means For The Preparedness Community”

  1. I saw this at odarkthirty at the gym and immediately sent a message out to the group to fill tanks and cans.
    Gas cans can get used for lawn mowing this time of year and get left empty.
    These are the triggers we must watch for. Not panic over but watch for and act accordingly.

    Reply
  2. Filled gas cans up this morning and added stabilizer. Where are the nuclear facilities of any type that are in the large circle of Maggie Valley, Cherokee, etc?

    Reply
    • PRI-G stabilizer?

    • We are downwind of Oak Ridge, TN. It is a decent distance but still concerning. Haywood County, NC is less than 40 miles from the Oconee nuclear reactor. We are about 35 miles from Oconee. Considering Oconee is supposed to be a dangerous reactor for a variety of reasons. Our nuclear facilities are terribly outdated and beyond the lifespan they were intended for. Oconee was designed to last 40 years and it is now at the 45 year mark. Scary stuff. I could go on and on with specifics. Thanks for reading, Samantha

  3. Thank you and your husband. Be safe.

    Reply
  4. So I prep for storm ( I week) .now what ? You never know when a gov. Off. Will rest his elbow on a red button.

    Reply
  5. Thank you for this. We are a military family overseas watching, staying vigilant and trying to be prepared as well.

    Reply
  6. Very good advice above. I am a moderate prepper because I was raised by parents and grandparents that always stayed moderately prepared for any possible future hard days. The best thing I do is live on Isaiah 41:10 to keep everything in perspective and not worry my head off.

    Reply
  7. do you think you could cram a few more ads into this site?
    won’t be back

    Reply

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