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Kenya’s Indian Ocean removed from high-risk area

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has removed the Indian Ocean from the list of High-Risk Areas (HRA) giving a major boost to trade for Kenya and the wider Eastern African region.

The decision was communicated during the 106th session of the Maritime Safety Committee at the International Maritime Organization in London, the UN agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping, by the BMP-5, which consists of the five largest global shipping industry associations.

Withdrawal of Kenya from HRA will take effect on January 1, 2023 at 0001 UTC. This will allow ship-owners and security providers to adjust operations as chart amendments by hydrographic organizations and other stakeholders are completed.

Kenya’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation Amb. Manoah Esipisu, said Kenya was delighted with the decision as it will save businesses billions of shillings in insurance fees, thereby lowering the prices of goods in the country and the wider Eastern African region.

“The discontinuation will greatly boost commerce and remove the security cloud that has hang over the region for more than a decade,” said Esipisu.

He said the Kenya High Commission in London and a multi-agency in Kenya have led a sustained campaign to ensure the end to the classification of the Indian Ocean as a high-risk area.

According to a press statement sent to newsrooms from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Kenya government in a bid to keep the nation’s waters safe has deployed an increased security in the waters, including the deployment of the Coast Guard.

It also stated that Kenya appreciates BMP-5’s ongoing assessment of the security situation in the Indian Ocean and the Southern Red Sea.

An analysis conducted by the BMP-5 and the IMO Secretariat, and recent security developments have indicated that there is a decrease in the number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the region by approximately 22 per cent globally compared to the same period last year.

The Kenya government applauds the International Community’s effort to provide continuous support to Member States in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden in order to build capacity and make an effective contribution to combating and deterring piracy in the Western Indian Ocean, among other maritime security threats.

“Kenya is aware that a number of other maritime security issues, such as smuggling, illegal fishing, and other maritime crimes, pose threats to regional security,” said the statement adding, “Kenya remains at the forefront of ensuring sustainable approaches to address the root causes through regional mechanisms.”

Kenya is preparing to implement long-term partnerships with the industry represented by BMP-5 in order to continue monitoring maritime security threats in the region and ensure the safety and security of owners, operators, charterers, and seafarers.

The shipping associations are the International Association of Dry Cargo Ship Owners (INTERCARGO), the International Association of Independent Tank Owners (INTERTANKO), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and Oil Companies International (BIMCO).

By Bernadette Khaduli

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