Latest developments

21 Nov 2016:-

1. Further clarification regarding transiting the Bab el Mandeb (BeM) straits

About transiting the Bab el Mandeb (BeM) straits during daylight hours and using the western TSS, the following diagram from UKMTO provides further clarification: TSS west and south of Hanish Al Kabra as ships exit the BeM strait:

BeM strait

As a precaution, masters should consider the following: maintain the farthest possible distance from the Yemen coast, transit the Bab el Mandeb straits during daylight hours, use the western TSS, increase speed, maintain vigilance and report any unusual activity to UKMTO.

2. US Navy webpage shows (http://www.oni.navy.mil/Intelligence-Community/Piracy/):
NGA Special Warning 134: Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait and Gulf of Aden Commercial vessels in the region of the Red Sea, Bab el Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden should operate under a heightened state of alert as increasing tensions in the region escalate the potential for direct or collateral damage to vessels transiting the region. These threats may come from a variety of different sources such as missiles, projectiles or waterborne improvised explosive devices. Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for an 01 October attack on a UAE vessel. Vessels in the region should report hostile activities immediately and contact coalition naval forces via VHF bridge to bridge radio, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., phone: 973 1785 3879.

3. Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Region – U.S. Navy Forces Special Warning
AA: All merchant vessels and maritime interests operating in the waters of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are to be cognizant of the current status of terrorist operations in vicinity of Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. As a result of the continued political instability and ongoing insurgency in Yemen, belligerent forces in the vicinity of the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb have enhanced their maritime and surveillance and demonstrated the capability for engagement of surface vessels within the area. Most likely targets are assessed to be military vessels; however, merchant vessels transiting the Strait may face increased risk from collateral damage.
BB: On 1 Oct, 2016 the Swift HSV-2, a UAE flagged vessel, was attacked in vicinity of the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait off the Yemen Mocha coastline. The attack was conducted by belligerents operating in Yemen who targeted the vessel and launched missiles or rockets which damaged Swift. Swift was towed away to Eritrea with no casualties reported.
CC: On 9 Oct, 2016, a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer operating north of the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait was fired upon from the western Yemeni coastline. The missile attack failed with no damage to the ship or injuries to the crew.
DD: Conditions in Yemen have increased the potential for maritime attacks by extremist groups not unlike those implicated in these attacks. Recommend vessels operating in restricted waters be especially vigilant and remain as far west and south of Yemen as practicable including using the Western Traffic Separation Scheme in the northern Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, maintaining best speed, and transit the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait during daylight hours. Masters can expect to see an increased coalition warship presence in the Bab-el-Mandeb straits as a precaution.
EE: Any unusual activities or hostile or potentially hostile action observed by mariners within this region should be reported to Coalition naval vessels using Channel 16, via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone 011-973-1785-3879.
FF: Additionally, communications required by the U.S. Coast Guard MARSEC 104-6 directive state that Masters should remain in contact with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and the U.S. Naval Cooperation and Guidance of Shipping (NCAGS) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to the maximum extent possible.
GG: Coalition naval forces can be expected to conduct Maritime Awareness Calls, queries, and approaches in order to ensure the safety of vessels transiting the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
HH: All U.S. flagged vessels approaching Coalition naval forces are advised to maintain radio contact on bridge-to-bridge channel 16. This notice is effective immediately and will remain in effect until further notice.

7 Oct 2016:-

Conflict in Yemen

Attention is drawn to the guidance issued by the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Office (UKMTO) in Advisory Notice 003/OCT/16, copied below. Industry has had is no indication or evidence the merchant shipping community is a target and the UKMTO advisory is forwarded to assist ships in taking actions to minimise the risks of becoming accidentally involved in the Yemeni Conflict.

ADVISORY NOTICE 003/OCT/16, UKMTO

1. Category: Maritime Security Incident/SOLAS - Update

2. Description: On 1 Oct 16 UKMTO advised of a vessel on fire at 0102 UTC in posn 13 06N, 043 08E (Bab el Mandeb straits). Indications are this incident is linked with the Yemen conflict and was a targeted attack from ashore on a specific UAE flagged vessel. Masters can expect to see an increased coalition warship presence in the Bab el Mandeb straits and as a precaution, should consider the following: maintain the farthest possible distance from the Yemen coast, transit the Bab el Mandeb straits during daylight hours, use the western TSS, increase speed, maintain vigilance and report any unusual activity to UKMTO.

3. Any queries regarding this Advisory Notice ring 0044 2392 222060 only for further information:

UKMTO Watchkeeper
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Emergency Tel: +971 5055 23215
Tel: +442392222060
Fax: +971(0)43094254

 

20 Jun 2016: -

The Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre – Gulf of Guinea (MTISC-GoG) closed at 0800 GMT on 20th June 2016.

New Reporting Structure – MDAT-GoG:
      o A new FR/UK Centre called Marine Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) commenced operations at 0800 GMT on 20th June 2016. MDAT-GoG will be operated by the Navies of France and the UK from centres in Brest, France and Portsmouth, England.
      o MDAT-GoG contact details:
        Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
        Telephone: +33(0)2 98 22 88 88
o Maritime Security Chart of GoG region A PDF version of the new chart (Q6114 Edition 2) can be downloaded from here.

Click here to download BMP4 (the 4th version of “Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy”).

Click here to download the amendment to BMP4.

Click here to download the "Guidelines for Owners, Operators and Masters for protection against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea region", v.2 June 2016.

Click here for more information about piracy issues.

 

16 Jun 2016: -

1. General analysis

The webpage at https://www.icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/live-piracy-report (the IMB ICC Live Piracy & Armed Robbery Report 2016) shows 90 cases of attacks in 2016. A quick analysis shows that the 90 cases happened in following areas:

Areas Asia Indian Ocean West Africa South America
Number of incidents 36 18 29 7
% of total 40.0% 20.0% 32.2% 7.8%
Remarks 22 of the 36 cases happened within waters of Indonesia and Malaysia. 13 of the 18 cases happened within waters of India; and 2 cases happened around Gulf of Aden.

24 of the 29 cases happened within waters of Nigeria

 

 

In addition to the website of IMB ICC, UKMTO circulates weekly update on piracy issues mainly for the Indian Ocean and Somalia regions. You may contact them for the update via:

Commander Peter Harriman Royal Navy | Officer-in-Charge, UKMTO | British Embassy Dubai, PO Box 65 | Mil Address – Naval Party 1023, BFPO 490
*email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | (Office: +971(0)43094268)|(Mobile: +971(0)505545477)|(Fax: +971(0)43094254)|(ftn: 8485 4266)

2. Nigeria and Gulf of Guinea

The waters of Nigeria and Gulf of Guinea have been the focuses in 2016. It was reported on 6 Jun 2016 that:
A laden oil tanker reported that a mother vessel with 2 skiffs on each side of the vessel, was chasing the tanker in pos: 05.22.7 N & 002.24.3 E at 16:40 UTC. It was a grey hull mother vessel around 60 meters long with 2 black skiffs, one at sea level and the other housed. Evasive manoeuvres were carried out at maximum speed, water jet and fog horn were being used, and after 20 minutes, the vessel gave up the chase. All crew members are safe.

Pirate activity in the Gulf of Guinea:

Kidnapping. Kidnap for Ransom against merchant vessels has significantly increased in areas off of the Niger Delta: at least 16 of the kidnapping victims so far in this year are commercial seafarers.

Violence. Pirates are becoming more violent and aggressive and often initiate attacks by firing at the bridge to intimidate the crew prior to boarding.

Range. Pirates’ operational range has increasing: several incidents occurred more than 50nm from the Nigerian coast and the MV Leon Dias incident occurred at over 100nm.

Adaptation. The Pirates seem to be exploring a new tactics and expanded range: the recently hijacked M/V Maximus, taken off of Abidjan over 600nm from the Niger Delta is remarkably similar to the F/V Lu Rong Yuan Yu 917 attack on 30 Jan, 2015.

 

15 Jun 2016: -

The Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre – Gulf of Guinea (MTISC-GoG, http://mtisc-gog.org/ ) will close before end of Jun 2016 following the successful conclusion of the Pilot Project, and France and the United Kingdom will commence a new virtual reporting centre, allowing the mission established by the MTISC to continue.

Over the past months, together with key stakeholders, OCIMF has carefully reviewed the outcomes of the MTISC-GoG Pilot Project, with the aim of establishing a sustainable reporting programme. The French and UK authorities, taking into account both their own experience and the role of MTISC-GoG in the region, have decided to offer a new contribution to the maritime information network in the Gulf of Guinea through a virtual reporting centre.

New Reporting Mechanism – MDAT-GoG
A new FR/UK mechanism for Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) commenced operations at 0800 GMT on 20th June 2016. MDAT-GoG will be operated by the Navies of France and the UK from their Centres in Brest, France and Portsmouth, England.

MDAT-GoG contact details:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Telephone: +33 (0)2 98 22 88 88
Calls to this number will be answered either in Brest or in Portsmouth.

Maritime Security Chart
A PDF version of the new chart (Q6114 Edition 2) can be downloaded from here. Notice to Mariners will provide details of the electronic chart and a printed version will be available at the end of June.

MTISC-GoG website
The MTISC-GoG website will be taken down at 0800 GMT on 20th June and replaced with a holding page providing the contact details for the new FR/UK structure.

MTISC-GoG Maritime Security Guidance (MSG)
MSG will no longer be supported or updated after 20th June and will be withdrawn from the OCIMF and MTISC-GoG websites.

Emails to MTISC-GoG to be forwarded to the new FR/UK Centre
To help with the transition of reporting to the new FR/UK reporting structure, MTISC-GoG began forwarding copies of reporting emails from vessels to the new FR/UK structure at 0800GMT on 14th June. Companies/vessels were requested to advise if they did not want to have their emails forwarded.

If companies do not give permission for their emails to be forwarded they are requested to advise MTISC-GoG as soon as possible otherwise no action is required.
FR/UK authorities have confirmed that all emails forwarded to FR/UK centre during this period will not be forwarded to any third party and will be deleted by 17th July.

Data Security
MTISC-GoG can confirm all data provided to the centre during its course of operation will be deleted.
MTISC-GoG would like to thank all those who have reported to the Centre for their support over the last two years.

 

6 Jun 2016: -

At the G7++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea (FOGG) meeting in Lisbon on 06 June, 2016, the Governments of France and the United Kingdom announced their intent to offer a new contribution to the maritime information network in the Gulf of Guinea. This will fulfil all the functions of the MTISC GOG (Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre - Gulf of Guinea), which will close by the end of June, and will further contribute to the Yaoundé process.

INTERCARGO and other industry organisations welcomes this announcement and that France and the UK are to bring their naval expertise to the fight against maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, especially at a time when the safety of the mariner requires more international attention. The technical details are expected in the next two weeks.

 

8 Feb 2016: -

Update on issues about anti-piracy measures

1. Alert! - Recent incidents reported within the territorial waters of Nigeria:
Members may have read reports in the news channels about the incidents of piracy:
• On 6 Feb, there was an attempt of pirates to hijack a container ship operated by A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S with 25 sailors on board. About this incident some reports indicated that none of the crew members were hurt and all the cargo was intact;
• Tanker Leon Dias was hijacked and freed as reported on 2 Feb, with five crew members being kidnapped.
From the reports in the new channels, both incidents seemed happening within the territorial waters of Nigeria.

2. Information from ICC’ International Maritime Bureau (IMB)
Its annual piracy report indicated:
• IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) recorded 246 incidents in 2015, one more than in 2014. The number of vessels boarded rose 11% to 203, one ship was fired at, and a further 27 attacks were thwarted. Armed with guns or knives, pirates killed one seafarer and injured at least 14.
• Nigeria is a hotspot for violent piracy and armed robbery. Though many attacks are believed to go unrecorded, IMB received reports of 14 incidents, with 9 vessels boarded. In the first of these, ten pirates armed with AK47 rifles boarded and hijacked a tanker and took all nine crewmembers hostage. They then transferred the fuel oil cargo into another vessel, which was taken away by two of the attackers. The Ghanaian navy dispatched a naval vessel to investigate as the tanker moved into its waters, then arrested the pirates on board.
• As per IMB’s report at https://icc-ccs.org/news/1154-imb-maritime-piracy-hotspots-persist-worldwide-despite-reductions-in-key-areas, “no Somali-based attacks were reported in 2015”. IMB warns vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean to stay particularly vigilant.

3. Database at IMO
IMO has a database at https://gisis.imo.org/Public/PAR/Default.aspx. It recorded 3 incidents in 2016 happening in West Africa.
1) IMO also issues circulars on monthly based to update on piracy titled as “REPORTS ON ACTS OF PIRACY AND ARMED ROBBERY AGAINST SHIPS”. A very recent circular was issued on 16 Jan 2016, as attached for your reference (MSC.4-Circ.231). On 2 Dec 2015, IMO issued a circular letter to all IMO Member States, informing the revision to the High Risk Area (HRA) of the Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy (BMP 4). Other information from IMO:
• MSC.1/Circ.1405/Rev.2, issued on 25 May 2012, Revised Interim guidance to shipowners, ship operators and shipmasters on the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in the High Risk Area
• MSC.1/Circ.1406/Rev.3, issued on 12 June 2015, Revised Interim recommendations for flag states regarding the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in the high risk area
• IMO paper “MSC 94-INF.5” by Italy dated 15 August 2014 on- Privately contracted armed security personnel. This document provides the Report of the informal expert working group on guidelines for the use of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) on board ships, held in Rome on 26 March and 15-16 October 2013, under the auspices of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)

4. Insurance sector
The Joint War Committee (JWC), a Joint Committee of the LMA and IUA, reviewed on 10 Dec 2015 the Listed Areas (last altered 12th June 2013), and agreed the following changes which are incorporated in the new list as attached (JWLA022 2015-12-10 Indian Ocean.pdf).
Amended:
Indian Ocean / Arabian Sea / Gulf of Aden / Gulf of Oman / Southern Red Sea
Deleted:
Bahrain, NE Borneo, Sulu Archipelago

P&I advice on amended BIMCO GUARDCON contract for the employment of security guards on vessels off West Africa at webpage: http://www.ukpandi.com/knowledge/article/circular-3-14-amended-bimco-guardcon-contract-for-the-employment-of-security-guards-on-vessels-off-west-africa-129986/ . It indicates that GUARDCON does not represent a recommendation or endorsement by BIMCO or the International Group of P&I Clubs for the use of security guards on board vessels.

5. Industry working group
Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships endangers the lives of seafarers and imperils ships, their cargoes, and freedom of navigation. Piracy and Armed Robbery thrives on criminality ashore and impacts on the world economy and the cost of goods. INTERCARGO and its Round Table partners of BIMCO, ICS and INTERTANKO believes it is the responsibility of all coastal states to establish and enforce security in their territorial waters, their EEZ, and on the High Seas.

INTERCARGO has been part of an industry working group on anti-piracy. Regular meetings are held among secretariats of BIMCO, ICS, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO and OCIMF. Through this WG, close contact has been retained with most of the major forces of Navy, Reporting Centres and regional anti-piracy interests.

It is continuously to highlight that the three pillars of BMP 4 are registering at MSCHOA, reporting to UKMTO and implementing ship protection measures on the basis of a thorough risk assessment remain essential.

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

The industry associations further emphasised that in view of the continuing high risk of pirate attack, shipping companies must continue to maintain full compliance with the BMP 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.

6. Flag States requirements
On 8 Feb 2016, Cyprus posted Guidance for anti-piracy law at http://maritimecyprus.com/2016/02/08/cyprus-guidance-for-anti-piracy-law/ .
More information refers to webpages at:
http://www.ics-shipping.org/docs/default-source/Piracy-Docs/comparison-of-flag-state-laws-on-armed-guards-and-arms-on-board3F9814DED68F.pdf , and
http://www.ukpandi.com/fileadmin/uploads/uk-pi/Documents/Piracy/privatearmedguardsflagstateregs.pdf.

7. Coastal States requirement
West African littoral states prohibit the use of armed PMSCs (private maritime security companies) on vessels in their territorial waters. India is very sensitive about the presence of armed security guards on merchant ships.

8. Useful contacts
• the UKMTO in Dubai is the primary point of contact for liaison with military forces in the region. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to join their voluntary reporting scheme, Telephone: +971 50 552 3215, Telex: (51) 210473
• Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) is manned 24/7 by military and merchant navy personnel from various countries and coordinates with military maritime forces in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. It is the commercial/civilian link with the EU Naval Force Somalia. Telephone: +44 1923 958545, Fax: +44 1923 958 520, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• The NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) is the commercial/civilian link with the NATO maritime force. Telephone: +44 1923 956 574, Fax: +44 1923 956 575, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• the Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO), US Navy Bahrain, is a secondary point of contact after UKMTO and MSCHOA, but is manned 24/7. Telephone: +973 3940 1395, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


9. Incidents of piracy in Asia
• A total of 200 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships (comprising 187 actual incidents and 13 attempted incidents) were reported to the ReCAAP ISC in 2015. Of these, 11 were acts of piracy and 189 were incidents of armed robbery against ships. Compared to 2014, there has been a 7% increase in total number of incidents in 2015.
• Incidents reported in 2015 has been less severe comparing to 2014; with relatively lesser number of incidents involving more than 9 perpetrators, lesser cases involving perpetrators who were armed; and lesser incidents with reports that crew was threatened, held hostage and assaulted.
• Of the 200 incidents, 60% (120) incidents occurred on board ships while underway, and 40% (80) on board ships while at anchor/berth. More than 50% of the total number of incidents reported in 2015 occurred in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) on board ships while underway. A total of 104 incidents were reported there, of which more than half of them were CAT 4 incidents. However, no actual incident had been reported in the straits since November 2015, probably as a result of an increase in patrolling and surveillance carried out by the littoral States who had also arrested perpetrators responsible for some of the incidents.
• While the situation at most ports and anchorages in Asia has improved in 2015 compared to 2014; Vietnam reported an increase in number of incidents, particularly at the Vung Tau port/anchorage with 60% of the total number of incidents in Vietnam occurred there.
• Incidents involving hijacking of tankers for theft of oil cargo were mostly CAT 1 incidents; and a total of 12 incidents had been reported in 2015, of which two incidents were foiled by the authorities. However, no incidents involving hijacking of tankers had been reported since September 2015. Attributing to this could be the arrests of the masterminds and perpetrators responsible for some of the incidents reported in 2015.
• Continuous zeal among the littoral States and cooperation between the authorities and shipping industry demonstrates the determination and commitment in clamping down this illegal maritime crime. With decline in the number of incidents reported in the last quarter of 2015; and more perpetrators being put to task; more need to be done to bring about further decrease in the number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia.

+++

17 Dec 2015:

The Joint War Committee (JWC) amended the boundaries of the Listed Areas in Indian Ocean / Arabian Sea / Gulf of Aden / Gulf of Oman / Southern Red Sea on 10 Dec 2015 as follows:

The waters enclosed by the following boundaries:
a) On the north-west, by the Red Sea, south of Latitude 15° N
b) on the west of the Gulf of Oman by Longitude 58° E
c) on the east, Longitude 65° E
d) and on the south, Latitude 12° S

Refer to the enclosed pdf file for details.

 

8 Dec 2015: PIRACY – REVISION OF HIGH RISK AREA

Action required: Members are requested to disseminate the attached amendment to the definition of the High Risk Area (HRA) in BMP 4 and supporting guidance as widely and as soon as possible. Feedback and queries with respect to the implementation of the measures should be provided to the undersigned.

Members are aware of discussion at the IMO Marine Safety Committee and the work of the UN Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGCPS) to harmonise the view of littoral states and industry regarding the Indian Ocean HRA. Following an industry review of a threat assessment from military intelligence, we are pleased to advise that the co-sponsors BMP 4 (the 4th version of “Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy”) have agreed to a revised definition of the High Risk Area.

The High Risk Area is now defined as being bounded by:

In the Red Sea:                       Latitude 15oN

In the Gulf of Oman:             Latitude 22oN

Eastern limit:                          Longitude 065oE

Southern limit:                       Latitude 5oS

Annex A to this circular provides an amendment to Section 2 of BMP 4, accompanying guidance on the revision’s impact and practical measures for company and shipboard planning as described in sections 6 and 7 of BMP 4.

The revisions will formally apply from 1 December 2015, in order to give shipping companies and crews’ time to adapt.

It is strongly recommended that the revisions be taken into account for voyages through the VRA (Voluntary Reporting Area) and HRA for which risk assessments are yet to be conducted. Please note these changes may have implications for charter party and insurance agreements as well as ship security arrangements.

It is not anticipated to publish a revised version of BMP 4 to incorporate these changes. It is expected that a new version of the Admiralty Chart Q6099 will be made available before the entry into force of the revisions on 1 December 2015.

Whilst the revision re-designates the area considered to be at a high risk from Somalia-based pirate groups, the threat assessment recognised that these groups retain the ability to attack at the historical limits of their activity. As such, the three pillars of BMP 4, namely registering at MSCHOA (The Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa) , reporting to UKMTO (the UK Maritime Trade Operations) and implementing ship protection measures on the basis of a thorough risk assessment remain essential. Any lowering of guard in the region is likely to present an opportunity for a resurgence of pirate activities.

Please refer to the press release below from industry associations today.

Press Release on 8 Oct 2015:

quote

Vigilance still crucial as piracy High Risk Area in the Indian Ocean reduced

Organisations representing the global shipping and oil industry have announced that the size of the ‘High Risk Area’ for piracy in the Indian Ocean has been reduced and issued new advice to merchant ship operators.

This reduction to the High Risk Area is in response to the ongoing containment of pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean, but a group of shipping and oil industry organisations (BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) stressed that a serious threat remains and that correct reporting and vigilance remains crucial.

The reduction of the High Risk Area takes full account of recent shipping industry experience, and follows extensive consultation with governments through the diplomatic Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, and military naval forces, including NATO, Combined Maritime Forces and EU NAVFOR, which continue to provide vital protection to shipping.

The new industry advice, which takes effect from 1 December, changes that currently contained in the latest edition of Best Management Practices for Protection against Somali Based Piracy (BMP 4), which is jointly produced by the industry group.    

In summary:

· The area previously classified as “high risk” now forms only a part of the area called the Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA)

· Ships entering the VRA must still register with the Maritime Security Centre for the Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) and report to the United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO) to be monitored during transit;

· Pre-transit risk assessments should take into account the latest information from both the Voluntary Reporting Area and High Risk Area.

The industry associations further emphasised that in view of the continuing high risk of pirate attack, shipping companies must continue to maintain full compliance with the BMP 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.

ENDS

Click here to download the amendment to BMP 4.