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After more than a decade of effective threat-reducing counter-piracy operations the shipping industry has removed the ‘Indian Ocean High Risk Area’ (HRA).

Notification of the removal of the HRA from 0001 UTC on 1 January 2023 by industry bodies was forwarded on 22 August, to the IMO for the next meeting of the Maritime Safety Committee scheduled to start on 31 October 2022.

The removal of the HRA reflects a significantly improved piracy situation in the region, largely due to concerted counter-piracy efforts by many regional and international stakeholders. No piracy attacks against merchant ships have occurred off Somalia since 2018.

According to the latest report by the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB), it received the lowest number of reported incidents for the first half of any year since 1994.

IMB’s latest global piracy report details 58 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships – the lowest total since 1994 – down from 68 incidents during the same period last year. In the first six months of 2022, IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported 55 vessels boarded, two attempted attacks and one vessel hijacked.

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Two incidents, comprising one CAT 41 incident and one attempted incident, of armed robbery against ships in Asia were reported.

The CAT 4 incident occurred on board a chemical tanker while anchored at Sandakan Anchorage, Sabah, East Malaysia.

The attempted incident occurred to a heavy transport vessel while underway at Akram Point, Hiron Point Pilot/Port Control Station, Bangladesh. The crew members were safe in both incidents.

It is noted that eight incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia. No incident of piracy was reported.

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Please kindly note important circulars regarding crew claims as follows.

Seafarer health and wellbeing is vital to the safe and profitable operation of ships. We would like to take this opportunity to remind Shipowners of the importance of Pre-Employment Medical Examination.

In order to serve at sea, seafarers must hold a valid medical certificate issued in accordance with the provisions of the STCW Convention, Regulation 1/9 and the STCW Code, Section A-I/9. The ILO/WHO publication “Guidelines on the Medical Examinations of Seafarers” provides the recommended standard for such examinations.

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The Port of Dakar in Senegal has said it is too busy to rescue a cargo ship at its anchorage which has been without electricity and sidelights for months, putting its seafarers and those on passing ships in danger.

The MV Onda was declared abandoned in December 2021 and has now been at Dakar for more than five months. Its engine has broken down meaning that it has no power and so cannot be lit to warn passing vessels of its presence.

The risk of a collision with the unlit vessel is high due of the anchorage’s proximity to a crowded seaway, warns the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

An unlit vessel positioned there at night puts the lives of the Onda’s seafarers in immediate danger as well as those on any ship passing by. There has already been one near miss. If an oil tanker crashes through the Onda, there will be an environmental as well as human disaster, said Steve Trowsdale, Inspectorate Coordinator at the ITF.