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Leading shipping organisations have launched a set of guidelines to help the industry conduct threat assessments in respect of transits through the southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb.

 The conflict in Yemen has introduced additional maritime security threats, other than piracy, to the Southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb. These threats may come from a variety of sources such as missiles, sea mines, or waterborne improvised explosive devices (WBIEDs). Although merchant shipping may not be deliberately targeted, there is a risk of misidentification or collateral damage to commercial vessels operating in the region. It is therefore important that company security officers (CSOs) and Masters are informed of these new threats, as the threat patterns and mitigating measures differ from the more familiar regional threat of piracy.

In response to the above, BIMCO, ICS and INTERTANKO published an Interim Guidance on Maritime Security in the Southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb on 25 January 2018. The purpose of the guidance is to help CSOs and Masters conduct proper risk assessments prior to entering the region. The guidance is complementary to and should be applied in conjunction with the application of the BMP4.

The interim guidance stresses that preparation and planning is key and that the consequences of not adopting effective security measures can be severe. CSOs and Masters of vessels transiting the region are therefore advised to:

  • obtain the most up to date and reliable security information available;
  • assess the current security situation, conduct a pre-voyage risk assessment and incorporate appropriate protective measures into vessel’s security plans;
  • register with the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) and report to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) prior to entering the region;
  • use the Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC), which is a military established corridor upon which naval forces focus their presence and surveillance efforts;
  • designate a safe onboard location for the crew in the event of a threat of an external explosion; and
  • always report suspicious activity to the UKMTO and MSCHOA. You can find their contact details in Annex A to the interim guidance.

For information about Yemeni ports and applicable clearance procedures, please refer to our website “Yemen – port situation”. For information and general advice related to piracy, please refer to our website “Piracy - Robbery or Illegal Violence at Sea”.