In a joint press release today, BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping, Intercargo, Intertanko and OCIMF have formally announced a reduction to the high risk area (HRA) in East Africa.

Formally entering into force on 1 December 2015, as an amendment to BMP4, the new limits of the HRA will be as follows:

In the Red Sea: Northern limit: Latitude 15oN

In the Gulf of Oman: Northern limit: Latitude 22oN

Eastern limit: Longitude 065oE

Southern limit: Latitude 5oS

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This is a marked reduction, particularly to the East – the previous boundary stretching to 078oE, and will be welcomed by many states, in particular India who have long been lobbying for such a reduction. However, the old HRA will remain part of a “voluntary reporting area” and vessels should continue to report to MSCHOA and UKMTO on entering the same.

Owners and operators should also continue to follow the remainder of the recommended anti-piracy guidance detailed in BMP4 which remains unaffected, and all five organisations stressed the fact that the piracy risk remains. To this end, it will be interesting to see whether the Joint War Committee alters their listed areas in a corresponding manner.