AY Travel Advisory: To yachts entering the pirate infested Arabian Sea & Indian Ocean - Don't go!

February to April are the months when most cruising sailors are going east to west across the Indian Ocean and set out to transit the pirate infested Gulf of Aden. At this time of year the NE tradewind in the North Indian Ocean are favorable and a boat will reach the Mediterranean just in time for the European Spring. Between August to November during the SW trades is when yachts are likely to make the return journey from west to east. As this area has become notoriously famous for pirate attacks, a security corridor International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) was established back in 2009 and boats were advised to travel in convoys. New coordinates (See Map & details below) came into effect on 0001Z 01 FEB 09

5th March 2011 - WARNING TO: U.S. Registered Yachts and Sailing Vessels

The U.S. Coast Guard strongly advises against all operation of and travel by U.S. yachts and sailing craft, or by U.S. citizens on foreign registered yachts and sailing craft, on the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Somali Basin and the western parts of the Indian Ocean. While some of the US Navy got called away during the recent disturbance in Egypt and now standing off Libya, a U.S. registered sailing vessel was hijacked by pirates in February 2011 off the southern coast of Oman in the northern Arabian Sea and all of its crew were tragically killed. This case is a stark reminder of the grave dangers of operating in these high risk waters, especially by recreational vessels.

Goto EU Naval Force SomaliaAll mariners already in these waters are urged to register with the Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) for up to date advice and guidance on passage round the Horn of Africa. They should also report regularly to the UKMTO (Email: ukmto@eim.ae Tel: +971 50 552 3215), giving location, course and speed, and plan their routing carefully to reduce the risk of an attack.

Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and the northwest Indian Ocean and has occurred in excess of 1000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia. Up-to-date information about attacks and pirated vessels can be referenced from the EU Naval Force Somalia web site. Sailing vessels are particularly vulnerable to attack due to their low speed and low freeboard. All mariners intending to sail through high risk areas should reconsider the necessity of their travel and alternatives, such as transporting the vessel by yacht carrier.

STATUS OF SEIZED VESSELS AND CREWS IN SOMALIA, THE GULF OF ADEN AND THE INDIAN OCEAN
As per 07 March 2011, 20h30 UTC, at least 49 foreign vessels plus two barges are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 784 hostages or captives - including a South-African yachting couple as well as a Danish yacht-family with children - suffer to be released. But even EU NAVFOR, who mostly only counts high-value, often British insured vessels, admitted now that many dozens of vessels were sea-jacked despite their multi-million Euro efforts to protect shipping. Having come under pressure, EU NAVFOR's operation ATALANTA felt now compelled to publish their updated piracy facts for those vessels, which EU NAVFOR admits had not been protected from pirates and were abducted. EU NAVFOR also admitted in February 2011 for the first time that actually a larger number of vessels and crews is held hostage than those listed on their file. Since EU NAVFOR's inception at the end of 2008 the piracy off Somalia started in earnest and it has now completely escalated. Only knowledgeable analysts recognized the link.

Goto UK Maritime Trade OrganizationParticipants in yacht races and rallies in these high risk areas are at great risk of attack. These events are often publicized and could draw attention from pirates, despite the security and safety measures that might be put in place. The U.S. Coast Guard strongly advises mariners not to participate in events that will require transit through high risk waters.

Useful contacts:

The UK Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO) in Dubai is the primary point of contact for liaison with military forces in the region. Email at ukmto@eim.ae to join their voluntary reporting scheme, Tel: +971 50 552 3215, Telex: (51) 210473.

Maritime Security Centre 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 the Indian Ocean. It is the commercial/civilian link with the EU Naval Force Somalia. Tel: +44 1923 958545, Fax: +44 1923 958 520, Email: postmaster@mschoa.org

The NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) is the commercial/civilian link with the NATO maritime force. Tel: +44 1923 956 574, Fax: +44 1923 956 575, Email: info@shipping.nato.int

The Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO) US Navy Bahrain, is a secondary point of contact after UKMTO and MSCHOA, but is manned 24/7. Tel: +973 3940 1395, Email:
marlo.bahrain@me.navy.mil

ISAF issue warning on Pirate Zone
Goto ISAF Guidelines In view of the recent escalation in piratical attacks in the area of the Gulf of Aden, Yemeni and Somali, and the consequent very high risk, the essential advice is not to enter this area. However a yacht which, despite this advice, decides on such a passage is recommended to make contact in advance with the naval authorities and will find in the document basic guidance for her transit.
International Sailing Federation (ISAF) warning on Pirate Zone. The Guidelines are a joint production of MSC(HOA) and ISAF under the auspices of the ISAF International Regulations Commission. The Commission has been established and appointed by the ISAF Executive Committee in accordance with Regulation 41 to provide advice on matters related to the regulation of recreational boats or craft by government actions or otherwise. In response to these warnings the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) recently updated and re-issued its guidelines to yachts contemplating making a passage through the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin. Click here to download a copy of the ISAF Guidelines. You can read ISAF full set of updated guidelines Click HERE

Gulf of Aden Pirate Corridor Waypoints - New coordinates in effect

In an incredible standoff during 2008, just off the Somalian coastline, no less than six American warships were circling the hijacked Ukrainian freighter the MV Faina, laden with a cargo of 33 tanks, small arms and ammunition and bound for southern Sudan. The ransom started at $20m, but latter reports suggest that about $5m was paid for its release. The pirates have declared they will fight to the death.

Goto MARLO - Maritime Liaison OfficeThis is just the latest and most dramatic of over 50 serious attacks on ships in this region during the past year. Two yachts were seized, each rescued in dramatic circumstances by French commandos. However, normally huge ransoms are paid for the big ships, and this has exacerbated the situation. Up to twelve ships were held as hostages, with ransom demands pending. It seems that the entire economy has been privatized by the overlapping criminal enterprises whose business is the smuggling of weapons and people, obtaining 'taxes' and protection fees from the foreign fishing boats that ply Somalia's waters, and preying on the yachts and cargo vessels that sail off its coast.

Yachtsmen contemplating making the passage, are recommended to contact the MARLO (Maritime Liaison Office) in Bahrain for further advice on Tel: +00-973-3940-1395 or by e-mailing marlo.bahrain@me.navy.mil For full information on transiting the Gulf of Aden pirate zone, click on http://www.cusnc.navy.mil/marlo/?nid=54468

Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO) missionSome yachts are opting to hug the Yemeni shore, within the range of the Coastguard there, hoping that the existence of the coastguard will deter Somali pirates from an approach. The issue with this method is that one has to be wary of the coastline, and navigation is therefore made more difficult.

Corridor in Gulf of Aden officially named International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) New coordinates in effect 0001Z 01 FEB 09

Coordinates of the IRTC corridor through the Gulf of Aden:
Transit Corridor (IRTC) New coordinatesFull Details on the updated IRTC. http://www.cusnc.navy.mil/marlo/Guidance/Corridor.htm

THE IRTC EAST BOUND LANE BEGINS AT 045 EAST BETWEEN 11 48 NORTH AND 11 53 NORTH. THE LANE IS ORIENTED ALONG A STRAIGHT LINE COURSE OF 072 DEGREES AND TERMINATES AT 053 DEGREES EAST BETWEEN 14 18 NORTH AND 14 23 NORTH.

THE IRTC WEST BOUND LANE BEGINS AT 053 DEGREES EAST BETWEEN 14 25 NORTH AND 14 30 NORTH. THE LANE IS ORIENTED ALONG A STRAIGHT LINE COURSE OF 252 AND TERMINATES AT 045 DEGREES EAST BETWEEN 11 55 NORTH AND 12 00 NORTH.

COUNTER-PIRACY GUIDANCE SUMMARY

  • Prior to transit, all ships should register with the EU ATALANTA Task Force at http://www.mschoa.eu/ and view the group transit plan. Yachts should establish contact with UKMTO or MARLO for the latest guidance and forming convoys well in advance before reaching the Gulf. High risk vessels can requests escorts with UKMTO.
  • During transit, most commercial vessels should use the IRTC and all should send position reports every 4 hours to MARLO at marlo.bahrain@me.navy.mil and UKMTO at ukmto@eim.ae.
  • In the Gulf of Aden, it is recommended that Automatic Identification System (AIS) is turned on, but only transmit callsign and Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number. AIS should be turned off when sailing off the east coast of Somalia.
  • In case of emergency, call UKMTO (primary) +971 50 552 3215 or MARLO (secondary) at +973 3940 1395 for coalition assistance. These numbers are manned 24 hrs/7 days a week.
  • In general, keep a vigilant watch when transiting high risk areas. If approached, increase speed and maneuver aggressively. DO NOT STOP!
  • Contact Information: UKMTO: ukmto@eim.ae, +971 50 552 3215
    MARLO: marlo.bahrain@me.navy.mil, +973 3940 1395
    MSCHOA: postmaster@mschoa.org, +44 (0) 1923 95854

Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO) missionMission
The Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO) mission is to facilitate the exchange of information between the United States Navy, Combined Maritime Forces, and the commercial maritime community in the United States Central Command's (CENTCOM) Area of Responsibility. MARLO operates as a conduit for information focused on the safety and security of shipping and is committed to assisting all members of the commercial maritime community.
There liaison officers travel regularly throughout the Gulf and East Africa to foster communication, stay apprised of changes in local port infrastructure and management, and to proactively address your concerns and questions. We remain, first and foremost, an active advocate for commercial mariners. We remain dedicated to providing accurate and timely information on safety of shipping and marine navigation.

Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa)Area of Responsibility
MARLO's support to the commercial maritime community currently spans 27 nations that stretch from the Horn of Africa through the Arabian Gulf region, into Central Asia.

1. This MARAD advisory provides suggested waypoints for commercial vessels to transit the Gulf of Aden.

2. Marlo Bahrain sent a message on 25th August which stated that the Commander, U.S. Naval Central Command has directed the establishment of a Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA) in the Gulf of Aden.

3. FURTHERMORE, A force of Coalition Navy warships will patrol the AREA, and aircraft will fly in the airspace above. Commodore Bob Davidson (Canadian Navy), commander Combined Task Force 150, will command naval forces in the  patrol area. The MSPA is being established in support of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) ongoing efforts. Coalition actions will give the IMO time to work international preventative efforts that will ultimately lead to a long-term solution. Coalition ships are in the area as part of our continual presence in this region. While they have conducted routine operations in the area in the past, the establishment of the MSPA will focus the efforts to counter destabilizing activities in the region and improve security while long-term initiatives mature.

4. Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO) Bahrain
Core Working Hours: Sunday - Thursday 0800-1700
Daytime Tel: +973-17-85-3925 Fax: +973-17-85-3930 E-mail: marlo.bahrain@me.navy.mil
Address: Maritime Liaison Office, Box 116, Manama, Bahrain

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