In response to growing threats to the maritime community arising from the conflict in Yemen, the shipowners association, BIMCO together with the International Chamber of Shipping and Intertanko, have published interim guidance on maritime security in the southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb. BIMCO says shipowners and operators should be aware of new threat patterns in the area and points out that the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) and the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) have advised that a range of threats other than piracy, such as sea mines and water-borne improvised explosive devices (WBIEDs), are now potential risks in the area.
“We have been advised that these threats are real, and therefore decided to provide guidance for ships operating in the area. We have seen two incidents in January, and we want to make sure owners and operators are aware and advise their crews accordingly,” says Angus Frew, BIMCO secretary general and chief executive. “It is important that company security officers and ship Masters are informed of these new threats, as the threat patterns and mitigating measures differ from the more familiar regional threat of piracy.”
The guidance stresses the importance of using the Maritime Security Transit Corridor, registration with MSCHOA and reporting to UKMTO, as well as reviewing and updating risk assessments and plans to include these new threats. The guidance also includes advice specific to identified threat types, including WBIEDs and complements the guidance provided in BMP 4.
“In response to the urgent need, we have produced this practical guide for Masters and seafarers. This will become a valuable planning tool and should provide some reassurance to our industry,” added Dr. Phillip Belcher, Intertanko’s marine director. The Interim Guidance on Maritime Security in the Southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb is available on the BIMCO, ICS and Intertanko websites.