Piracy: Shipping industry to reduce size of Indian Ocean high risk area



With a continued downward trend in Somali piracy incidents, a group of the leading shipping organizations have agreed to reduce the geographic boundaries of the ‘High Risk Area’ in the Indian Ocean.

In broad terms, the changes agreed by BIMCO, ICS, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO, and OCIMF, representing the global shipping and oil industries, will reduce the HRA boundaries to the Yemeni and Somali Territorial Seas and Exclusive Economic Zones in its eastern and southern reaches. The changes will apply from 1 September 2021.

The organizations, in consultation with international partners, will also take a comprehensive new approach to assessing international maritime security threats to allow shipowners and operators to fully gauge the risk of voyages worldwide. This second step is expected to be completed by 31 December.

The HRA was created at the height of the Somali piracy threat in 2010 to show shipowners, operators, and seafarers where pirates operated and where extra vigilance was required to avoid attacks.

Updates to the HRA have reflected the changing nature of threats in the region, including the successful suppression of Somali pirate action.

“The security landscape is constantly evolving, and as new security threats have emerged or intensified outside the Indian Ocean it has become clear the HRA is outdated and misleading,” said Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General. “At the height of the crisis the HRA was essential in raising awareness of the Somali Pirate threat and the need to apply mitigation measures, but it has essentially served its purpose in protecting crews and vessels in the region.