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Maritime Security - Anti-Piracy update: Indian Ocean High Risk Area (HRA) to be reduced from 01 Sept. 2021

The Somali piracy High Risk Area is designated by the BMP Co-Authors. The HRA was implemented over a decade ago and represents where it is considered a higher threat of attack from pirates exists, and additional security requirements may be necessary. The HRA was last amended in May 2019, and the Co-Authors began a further review of the extent of the area in February 2021.

The review takes into consideration representations made by Kenya concerning the extent of the HRA in their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). These were discussed directly with the Co-Authors and in the plenary debate of the IMO’s 103rd session of its Maritime Safety Committee. Although IMO plays no formal role in the designation of the HRA, the Committee encouraged the BMP Co-authors and appropriate bodies to continue to work on the matter with regional stakeholders, including coastal States and military authorities; and the Co-Authors committed to report on the findings of the review process at MSC 104.
This new designation is a temporary measure whilst the Co-Authors undertake substantive work to address maritime security threats in a global context. It is anticipated that this work will be completed by 31 December 2021. After this date, a new industry-led security threat assessment will be provided to shipowners and operators, following the process described subsequently.

Recognising that the name High Risk Area no longer reflects the severity of the threats in the region, and the disparity between this area and others in which the threat is critical, the BMP Co-Authors will develop a mechanism to consolidate guidance on security threats around the world. This process will draw on a wide range of resources, including military intelligence and data, and will provide periodic threat assessments to allow shipowners and operators to conduct thorough threat assessments for their fleets. Consequently, it is expected that the High Risk Area, in its current form, will no longer be used and will be replaced by this more dynamic approach.

By employing a more dynamic threat assessment process the Co-Authors will regularly provide more relevant information on the threats faced by shipping, and to clearly identify areas in which threats exist. The aim of the process will be to define security threats consistently wherever they may occur, so that owners and operators will be aware of the level of threat faced, and mitigation measures that can be applied to minimise the effect of those threats as they manifest as risks. The first output of this process will be delivered in January 2022. The shipping industry will be consulted during this process to ensure that the final product meets the needs of owners and operators.