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Strong piracy warning issued by Maritime Administrator

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Piracy and armed robbery continues to be a significant threat to all maritime transport in various regions of the world, including the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, and the Somali Basin area of the Indian Ocean. It is important that Masters of commercial and private yachts are aware of the grave dangers to the safety and security of persons and vessels in these regions. This Advisory provides information and instruction to all Masters, owners/operators and managers of yachts flagged in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) in order to minimize the risk to the yacht and the crew, reinforcing that which has already been given by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).

The Maritime Administrator strongly advises against any operation and travel by RMI flagged yachts in the following High Risk Areas:
- Gulf of Aden
- Arabian Sea
- Indian Ocean and Red Sea as bounded by the following latitude and longitude: 15°N in the Red Sea, 23°N in the Arabian Sea, 78°E and 15°S in the Indian Ocean and the Mozambique Channel
- Gulf of Guinea, West Africa.

Sailing vessels are particularly vulnerable to attack due to their low speed and low freeboard. Should such travel be deemed essential in the aforementioned High Risk Areas, the Maritime Administrator highly recommends that Masters and owners/operators:

(a) Follow, to the extent practicable for yachts, the Best Management Practices (BMP) as contained in Marshall Islands Marine Notice 2-011-31, Piracy, Armed Attacks, Hijacking or Terrorism; Reporting Incidents, Ship Security Plans and Best Management Practices. This includes considering the necessity (assessing MSD 001 (11/01) 2 of 2 YSA-2-11 the risk) of travel through High Risk Areas and alternatives, such as transporting the vessel by yacht carrier.

(b) Register with the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) for up-to-date advice and guidance on passage around the Horn of Africa. MSCHOA is manned 24/7 by military and merchant navy personnel from various countries and coordinates with military maritime forces in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. MSCHOA is the commercial/civilian link with the EU Naval Force Somalia. Tel: +44 1923 958545, Fax: +44 1923 958 520, email: [email protected]

(c) Report regularly to the UK Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO) Dubai by providing position, course and speed. UKMTO is the primary point of contact for liaison with military forces in the region. Email at [email protected] to join their voluntary reporting scheme, Tel: +971 50 552 3215, Telex: (51) 210473.

(d) Discussing the proposed voyage with your insurers and/or P and I Club prior to sailing.

Masters and owners/operators should be aware the situation in these regions may change rapidly as the methods of the pirates and armed robbers continue to develop and become more sophisticated. Consequently, information sources should be regularly consulted and emergency plans updated accordingly.

Carriage of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) Onboard Marshall Islands Yachts
When approached on this issue, the Administrator advises that the RMI flag State does not object to a vessel owner, operator, and/or Master taking appropriate measures in regard to the safety and security of their vessel and crew. Whether to use an armed or unarmed security detail and how to facilitate that detail is a decision for the vessel operator to make after assessing the piracy related risks in the area where the vessel will be operating, the potential risks and benefits of available anti-piracy related countermeasures, and the logistics of implementing those measures. This assessment could include discussions with port officials, charterers, counsel, and underwriters. Again, the Maritime Administrator strongly advises against any operation and travel by RMI flagged yachts in the High Risk Areas.

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