Serious piracy threat remains in Indian Ocean

In view of the continuing threat of pirate attacks, shipping companies must continue to maintain full compliance with BMP5 and be vigilant in their voluntary reporting.

The Round Table of international shipping associations plus the OCIMF, representing the global shipping and oil industry have announced that the geographic boundaries of the ‘High Risk Area’ for piracy in the Indian Ocean have been reduced, with new advice issued to merchant ship operators.
The industry group of shipping and oil industry organisations (BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF)) responsible for setting the High Risk Area emphasised that a serious threat remains despite the reduction to the area’s geographic boundaries and that correct reporting, vigilance and adherence to the 5th edition of the best management practice (BMP5) remains crucial.
The High Risk Area reflects the area where the threat from piracy exists, whilst recognising the ongoing containment of pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean.
The reduction to the High Risk Area takes full account of recent shipping industry experience, pirate intent and capability and follows extensive consultation with nations, collations and military naval forces, including Combined Maritime Forces, EUNAVFOR and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which continue to provide vital advice and protection to shipping.
The regional UKHO Maritime Security Chart, Q6099 will be updated by Notice to Mariners and a new version produced to reflect this changes which take effect from 01 May 2019.
The advice can be downloaded via the industry organisations website: https://www.maritimeglobalsecurity.org/risksissues/piracy/
In summary:

  • The area previously classified as “high risk” forms only a part of the area called the Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA). ;
  • Ships entering the VRA areencouraged to report to the UKMTO to be monitored during transit and register with the Maritime Security Centre for the Horn of Africa (MSCHOA);
  • Pre-transit risk assessments should take into account the latest information from both the VRA and High Risk Area.

The industry associations further emphasised that in view of the continuing threat of pirate attacks, shipping companies must continue to maintain full compliance with BMP5 and be vigilant in their voluntary reporting on piracy incidents, sighting of potential pirates, and any suspicious activity, as this provides crucial intelligence on risk levels in the area.
The new coordinates of the HRA are:
In the Southern Red Sea: Northern Limit: Latitude 15 o 00’N
In the Indian Ocean a line linking:
From the territorial waters off the coast of east Africa at Latitude 05 o 00’S to 050 o 00’E
Then to positions:
Lat: 00o 00’N
Long: 055 o 00’E
Lat: 10o 00’N
Long: 060 o 00’E
Lat: 14o 00’N
Long: 060o 00’E
Then a bearing 310o to the territorial waters of the Arabian Peninsula.
The industry associations will continue to monitor developments to the security situation, and will adjust the HRA again if and when the situation warrants it.
BMP5: Best Management Practices To Deter Piracy And Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf Of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea is a joint industry publication that helps ships plan their voyage and detect, avoid, deter, delay and report attacks. Digital copies are free to download from the website www.maritimeglobalsecurity.org. Printed copies are also available for free from Witherby Seamanship at www.witherbyseamanship.com.

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