The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has advised that the co-sponsors of BMP 4 have agreed to a revised definition of the High Risk Area. The boundaries of the High Risk Area are now defined as:
In the Red Sea: Latitude 15oN
In the Gulf of Oman: Latitude 22oN
Eastern limit: Longitude 065oE
Southern limit: Latitude 5oS
ICS advises that Annex A (attached) provides an amendment to section 2 of BMP 4, accompanying guidance on the revision’s impact and practical measures for implementation in the context of company and shipboard planning as described in sections 6 and 7 of BMP 4. The revisions will formally apply from 1 December 2015, in order to give shipping companies and crews time to adapt to them.
It is strongly recommended that the revisions are taken into account as soon as possible for voyages through the VRA and HRA for which risk assessments are yet to be conducted, as the changes may have implications for charter party and insurance agreements as well as ship security. The revisions will be provided on industry websites, including www.ics-shipping.org, as well as NATO Shipping Centre (http://www.shipping.nato.int) and MSCHOA (www.mschoa.org).
ICS does not anticipate that there will be a need to publish a fully revised version of BMP 4 to incorporate these changes.
While the revision re-designates the area considered to be at a high risk of Somalia-based pirate groups, it is stressed that these groups retain the ability to attack at historical limits of their activity. As such, the three pillars of BMP 4, namely registering at MSCHOA, reporting to UKMTO and implementing ship protection measures on the basis of a thorough risk assessment remain essential. Any lowering of security in the region is likely to present an opportunity for a resurgence of pirate activities. Therefore, along with the commitment to its own security responsibilities, the shipping industry remains fully supportive of continued military deployments on a counter-piracy mandate for so long as the threat of pirate action groups exists.
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