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Industry bodies reduce piracy ‘High Risk Area’

Industry bodies reduce piracy ‘High Risk Area’
Organisations representing the shipping and oil industries have reduced the 'High Risk Area' (HRA) for piracy in the Indian Ocean and issued new advice to shipowners.

Although the reduction is as a result of containment operations against the pirates, the organisations stress that a serious threat remains and that correct reporting and vigilance remains crucial.

The reduction follows extensive consultation between the industry, governments in the diplomatic Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, and military naval forcers that continue to provide 'vital' protection to shipping.

The HRA is a subsection of a much larger Voluntary Reporting Area within which military threat assessments say that Somali pirates operating at range cannot entirely be discounted.

Nevertheless, attacks, in particular successful attacks in the region, have dwindled to virtually zero as a result of measures taken by the industry, notably the initially controversial introduction of armed guards on ships, and the efforts of the naval forces in the region.

The HRA reduction was announced by the shipping organisations of the Round Table - Bimco, Intertanko, Intertanko and the ICS - together with the oil industry's OCIMF. 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 (BMP4), which is jointly produced by the industry group.