Thursday, October 15, 2015

Danger Area for Pirate Activity Reduced but Ocean Shipping of Freight Remains a Hazardous Industry

Freight and Oil Groups Say Stay Vigilant and Report Incidents
Shipping News Feature
INDIAN OCEAN – NORTH AFRICA – It is a sign of the success of the campaign by international coalition forces that from December 1 the High Risk area covered by Best Management Practices in the war against Somali pirates is to be reduced. The area covered by BNP4 is decided by organisations representing the global shipping and oil industries which have decreed the reduction in response to the ongoing containment of pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean. Freight and passenger vessels are still warned however to maintain vigilance as a serious threat remains.

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 amendment to BMP 4 that relates to this issue can be downloaded here:

• 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, BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Intercargo, Intertanko and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) 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.

Meanwhile security outfit Maritime Asset Security and Training (MAST) advise that the assault by Saudi and Yemeni government coalition forces on Tiaz in southern Yemen continues, despite reports of an agreed peace plan between the UN and Houthi Rebels and their main supporter, General Saleh. Ben Stewart, General Manager at MAST (Singapore), said:

“It is clear that the blockade of northern Yemen is really starting to bite. Hodeidah and Saleef Ports have been without electricity for the last 55 days and are desperately in need of fuel. For the Houthis and General Saleh to be agreeing to peace deals that significantly reduce their influence, it is likely they are in a very difficult position.”

Speaking about the fact that Bernardino Leon, the UN’s special envoy to Libya, last week announced a new deal to form a Unity Government in the country, Stewart continued in a pessimistic vein saying:

“This was quite surprising given the Tobruk and Tripoli Governments had not agreed any terms. It appears Mr Leon may have been a little premature with his announcement with the Tripoli Government questioning the statement straight away. The Tripoli Government will not tolerate General Haftar being part of a Libyan Government. General Haftar, arguably the most powerful presence in the officially recognised Tobruk based Government, is highly unlikely to step aside. The stalemate is likely to continue.”

Photo: The security situation in Yemen remains dire.