Indian Ocean high-risk piracy zone to be removed as threat diminishes
The zeroing of piracy-related events off Somalia will result in the removal of Indian Ocean High Risk Area (HRA) status granted to waters off the Horn of Africa at the end of the year. ‘year.
The international shipping industry will from January 1 next year remove the Indian Ocean HRA for piracy in a historic move. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents 80% of the world’s merchant fleet, said in a statement that the removal of the HRA reflects a significantly improved piracy situation in the region, but preparation for the voyage, l Threat and risk assessments are essential when tracking best management practices.
The European Union (EU) naval force deployed in Operation Atalanta, said: “Piracy originating in Somalia is suppressed thanks to the presence and continuous efforts of the naval forces, as well as the actions of the private sector and to a considerable effort in the implementation of measures for the protection of ships by navigation. and fishing enterprises, described by Best Management Practices (BMP5)”.
According to EU NavFor Atalanta, “piracy-related events have decreased and no attacks have been recorded since 2019, when the force interrupted a piracy attack against FV Adria and FV Txori Argi, arresting five suspects and freeing the ‘crew of a dhow used as a mother ship’. .
Notification of the removal of the HRA by industry bodies has been submitted to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the next meeting of the Maritime Safety Committee scheduled for October 31.
Relevant industry bodies include the International Chamber of Shipping, BIMCO, the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), INTERCARGO (International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners), INTERTANKO (International Association of Independent Tanker Owners) and Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF).
“The removal of the HRA reflects a significant improvement in the piracy situation in the region, largely due to concerted counter-piracy efforts by regional and international stakeholders. No piracy attacks against merchant vessels have taken place off Somalia since 2018,” ICS noted.
The ICS urges caution in the region. “The shipping industry will continue to monitor and advise on maritime security threats to facilitate the safe transit of ships and the seafarers who equip them. Pre-voyage threat and risk assessments should take into account the latest maritime safety information.
When the HRA is no longer in effect next year, Atalanta’s airborne and maritime assets will continue to provide threat assessments to inform company security officers planning passage through the voluntary reporting zone ( VRA) because “piracy is suppressed but not yet eradicated”.
Threat assessments are shared with United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a multinational partnership to combat illicit non-state actors on the high seas and promote security, stability and prosperity on 3, 2 million square miles of international waters, including some of the most important shipping lanes in the world.
“This announcement demonstrates nearly 15 years of dedicated collaboration to reduce the threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean. Through a combination of military, political, civil society and shipping industry efforts, operators and seafarers are now able to operate with increased confidence in these waters,” said the Minister. ‘ICS in reference to the waters off Oman, Yemen and Somalia.
For more than a decade, Somali pirates have launched attacks on commercial shipping in East African waters, capturing hundreds of crew and generating millions of dollars in ransoms. Insurance rates rose and shipping lines were forced to carry armed guards and install citadels and defenses on board.
Near the peak of attacks on shipping around the Horn of Africa, the region was designated in 2010 as a high-risk area. At the height of Somali piracy in January 2011, the EU Naval Force – Somalia reported 736 hostages and 32 ships held by pirates.
International navies and the EU’s anti-piracy task force, Operation Atalanta, cracked down on the pirates while patrolling off the Horn of Africa. There has been no boarding for almost four years, with the last reports of pirates attempting to hijack a ship dating back to 2019 and the last successful boarding being in 2018.
The seas off West Africa are now the world’s piracy hotspot with multiple attacks, robberies and kidnappings, prompting international navies and coastal nations to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea .