HRA reduction could give false sense of security to maritime industry, MAST warn

  • BMP4 High Risk Area (HRA) reduction in Indian Ocean to come into force on Tuesday 1 December 2015
  • Significant development which will be received favourably by many in shipping industry but could send false signal
  • Ships which relax security measures in response to HRA reduction could be targeted by opportunistic Somali pirates
  • Current political instability in Somalia and illegal fishing off coast suggest return to piracy a genuine possibility

Shipping companies could find themselves victims of Somali pirate attacks as a result of the reduction of the High Risk Area (HRA) in the western Indian Ocean coming into force from today, MAST has warned.
The decision announced by the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (GCPCS) in October to reduce the HRA off the coast of Somalia was welcomed by many sections of the Shipping industry, but this could ultimately increase the number of attacks by opportunistic and organised pirate groups, Gerry Northwood, COO of Maritime Asset Security & Training, has said.
Northwood, a former Royal Navy counter-piracy commander who was part of the task force which originally created the HRA, believes that vessels potentially relaxing their security measures, coupled with political instability in Somalia and illegal fishing off its coast, could encourage pirates to attack commercial ships again.
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