IBF revises “high risk area” in Somali waters
Friday, 01 May 2009 10:59

Following a meeting of the JNG/ITF Secretariat in London on April 27 and the agreement reached between the parties of the IBF on April 29, the International Bargaining Forum has agreed to extend the coordinates of “high risk area” covering Somali waters.

From May 1 2009, the existing “high risk area” covering the Gulf of Aden will be extended to cover the eastern seaboard of Somalia down to the border of Kenya, and will extend 400 nautical miles from the Somali mainland.

The agreement also provides that seafarers on ships covered by IBF Agreements will receive a bonus equal to that of 100 percent of their basic wage while the vessel is in transit in the Gulf of Aden for an additional month. The normal rates of death and disability compensation for seafarers will also continue to be doubled during this period.

All parties recognised the increased number of attacks on merchant vessels trading in this area, with the hope that the decision to increase the area designated as high risk will be seen as a positive effort from the shipowners to protect the safety and security of the seafarers who sail aboard their vessels.

“Whilst we continue to be alarmed at the increase in piracy in this region, we hope that by announcing the increase of the high risk area, vessels trading in this area will be putting a greater distance between themselves and the Somali coastline, rendering them less at risk from piracy attempts," Giles Heimann, Deputy Secretary General of IMEC said. 

“We will continue to monitor the situation and hope that the world’s governments will continue to provide protection through naval forces in the area, whilst looking for a permanent solution to this threat to vessels continuing their peaceful trade.”