IMO urges vigilance

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) secretary-general, Kitack Lim, has urged the shipping industry to apply diligently the IMO guidance and best management practices to avert possible piracy attacks, in the wake of the hijack of the Aris 13 off Somalia.

“While we have seen a very welcome decline in piracy off Somalia since the last reported hijack by Somali pirates in 2012, the reality is that piracy off the coast of Somalia has not been eradicated and the underlying conditions have not changed. Merchant shipping should continue to take protective measures against possible piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean through diligent application of IMO guidance and best management Practices,” Lim said.

According to incidents data reported to the IMO, the hijack of the tanker Aris 13, on March 13, is the first reported hijack of a vessel covered by IMO regulations by Somali pirates since the tanker Smyrni in May 2012. Since 2012, although piracy has been largely contained, Somali pirates have continued to attempt to hijack ships, but less frequently, claims the IMO.

The IMO urges those transiting the area to register with the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) and report to the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) office in Dubai, which acts as the primary point of contact for merchant vessels and liaison with military forces in the region, as well as implement the IMO guidance, best management practices (BMP) and follow the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC).