Continued vigilance urged after change to Indian Ocean High Risk Area

After a round table group of international shipping associations, including BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Intercargo and Intertanko, as well as the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) announced that the geographic boundaries of the High Risk Area (HRA) for piracy in the Indian Ocean had been reduced, new advice was issued to operators of merchant vessels in the region.

The revised HRA recognized the ongoing containment of pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean and emphasized that, despite the reduction to the size of the area, a serious threat remained. They said that that correct reporting, vigilance and adherence to 5th edition of the best management practice (BMP5) remained crucial.

The area previously classified as “high risk” formed only a part of the area called the Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA). Ships entering the VRA were encouraged to report to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) to be monitored during transit, and to register with the Maritime Security Centre for the Horn of Africa (MSCHOA).

The industry associations further emphasized that, in view of the continuing threat of pirate attacks, shipping companies needed to continue to maintain full compliance with BMP5 and be vigilant in their voluntary reporting of piracy incidents, sighting of potential pirates, and any suspicious activity, as this provides crucial intelligence on risk levels in the area.