Decade-long Indian Ocean HRA to be removed

After more than a decade of counter-piracy operations, the shipping industry is removing the Indian Ocean High Risk Area.

Measures enacted to secure the waters by military, political, civil society and shipping industry, as well as best management practices guidance, have reduced the threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean. No piracy attacks against merchant ships have occurred off Somalia since 2018.

The removal of the HRA will come into effect on 1st January 2023, allowing charterers, shipowners and operators time to adapt to the changed threat from piracy. Best Management Practices 5 (BMP5) will continue to provide the necessary guidance for shipping to ensure threat and risk assessments are developed for every voyage to mitigate the risks presented by remaining security threats in the region.

The HRA IMO submission co-sponsors said: “This announcement is a testament to nearly 15 years of dedicated collaboration to reduce the threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean. Through a combination of efforts by military, political, civil society and the shipping industry over the years, operators and seafarers are now able to operate with increased confidence in these waters.

“Thanks and gratitude is given to all the seafarers and offshore workers who have served during this time in safely maintaining global trade and operations.

“Threat and risk assessments should still be carried out and best management practices followed to continue to mitigate the risks presented in a changeable and often complex and potentially threatening environment.”

The shipping industry will continue to monitor and advise on maritime security threats to assist the safe transit of vessels and the seafarers who crew them.

Pre-voyage threat and risk assessments should consider the latest maritime security information from organisations supporting the VRA.

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