The US Maritime Administration launched a MSCI Advisory informing about Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Indian Ocean violence due to regional conflict and piracy, highlighting that there’s still risks for commercial vessels operating in these areas.
According to the Advisory:
- Conflict in Yemen continues to pose potential risk to U.S. flagged commercial vessels transiting the southern Red Sea, Bab al Mandeb Strait and Gulf of Aden despite the current cease-fire between the Houthis and the Saudi-led Coalition in the vicinity of Al Hudaydah, Yemen. Since 2016, this conflict has threatened coalition navy and logistics vessels. In May 2018, a missile or rocket damaged a Turkish-flagged bulk cargo vessel while at anchor in the Red Sea awaiting entry into As-Salif, Yemen. Potential attacks continue to pose a direct or collateral risk to U.S. flagged commercial vessels operating in the region.
- Piracy continues to pose a threat in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and Gulf of Oman.
Concerning conflicts in Yemen, US flagged vessels are advised to avoid entering or loitering near Yemen’s Red Sea ports. Vessels at anchor, operating in restricted maneuvering environments, or proceeding at slow speeds should be especially vigilant.
In the meantime, the US flagged vessels passing through the conflict area should conduct a pre-voyage risk assessment and incorporate appropriate protective measures into their vessel security plans. Threats may come from a variety of different sources including, but not limited to, missiles, projectiles, mines, small arms, or waterborne improvised explosive devices.
Vessels in the conflict area should report hostile activities immediately and contact coalition naval forces on VHF Channel 16. U.S. flagged commercial vessels should also contact the U.S. Fifth Fleet Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) detachment via the Fifth Fleet Battle Watch Captain at phone: +011 973 1785 3879 or email: [email protected] prior to entering the conflict area.
Moreover, suspicious activities and incidents should also be reported by US flagged commercial vessels to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at phone: 1-800-424-8802 per 33 CFR Part 101.305. Vessels operating in this region are also advised to establish contact with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO). UKMTO advisories, warnings, and contact info are available at www.ukmto.org. Additional U.S. Coast Guard port specific requirements may be found in Port Security Advisory 1-18.
MARAD recommends that the Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea (BMP5), and Maritime Global Security website, provide useful recommendations and should be consulted prior to operating in the above listed geographic areas.
U.S. flagged commercial vessels operating within High Risk Waters (HRW), as defined in U.S. Coast Guard MARSEC Directive 104-6, are required to comply with its requirements due to the risk of piracy, kidnapping, hijacking, and armed robbery in the HRW.
Vessels are further advised to:
- Navigate at least 200 nautical miles from the Somali coast to the extent practicable
- Follow the guidance in Best Management Practices 5, BMP5
- Comply with their Coast Guard approved Vessel Security Plan annex on counter piracy
Transit by yachts and privately owned sailing vessels through the region is also extremely hazardous and may result in capture. Meanwhile, the USCG advises against all operation of yacht and pleasure craft in these areas.
Contact Information: For maritime industry questions about this advisory, contact the Global Maritime Operational Threat Response Coordination Center at: [email protected]
Cancellation of Prior Advisories: This message cancels U.S. Maritime Advisory 2018-015.
This Advisory will automatically expire on December 23, 2019.
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