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Piracy Threat For Oil Industry In Indian Ocean Shrinks Former High-Risk Area

The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) and international shipping associations have reduced the so-called High Risk Area for piracy attacks on ships and tankers in the Indian Ocean, but emphasized that serious threat remains despite the area reduction, one of the associations, the International Chamber of Shipping, said on Friday.

Despite the geographical reduction of the High Risk Area, which will become effective on May 1, 2019, the numerous shipping organizations—including such representing the oil shipping industry—warn that ship owners and merchant ship operators need to remain vigilant because the piracy threat still exists.

“The reduction to the High Risk Area takes full account of recent shipping industry experience, pirate intent and capability and follows extensive consultation with nations, collations and military naval forces, including Combined Maritime Forces, EUNAVFOR and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which continue to provide vital advice and protection to shipping,” the organizations said in a statement.

The Indian Ocean is between the eastern coast of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and Asia to its north, where a lot of oil tanker traffic is taking place every day.

The Strait of Hormuz, for example, is the world’s most important chokepoint, with an oil flow of 18.5 million bpd in 2016, the EIA estimates. The Strait connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea and is the key route through which Persian Gulf exporters—Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, and Bahrain—ship their oil.

Earlier this year, the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) published its annual piracy report, which showed that the number of piracy incidents in the world increased in 2018, due to a marked rise in attacks against ships and crews around West Africa. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) recorded 201 incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery globally last year, up from 180 such incidents in 2017.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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