Nairobi News


Low piracy: Indian Ocean removed from high risk areas

Kenya has gained a boost to its tourism sector following removing the Indian Ocean from the list of High-Risk Areas (HRA).

The move also significantly boosts trade in the wider Eastern African region.

The area was categorized under HRA in March 2019 following shipping industry experience and the high number of piracy.

This was agreed upon during the 106th session of the Maritime Safety Committee at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London and communicated to the UN agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping, which consists of the five largest global shipping industry associations.

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According to the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an analysis conducted by the BMP-5 and the IMO Secretariat, and recent security developments have resulted in a decrease in the number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the region and by approximately 22 percent globally compared to the same period last year.

The Kenya High Commission London led the campaign, and a multi-agency ensured the end to the classification of the Indian Ocean as a High-Risk Area.

“The Government has deployed a visibly increased security presence, including deployment of the Coast Guard, to keep our waters safe,” the ministry said.

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Following the step, Kenya’s High Commissioner to UK, Manoah Esipisu, lauded IMO for the move, saying that the country is aware of several other maritime security issues, such as smuggling, illegal fishing, and other maritime crimes.

These activities threaten regional security, and Kenya remains at the forefront of ensuring sustainable approaches to address the root causes through regional mechanisms.

“Kenya is delighted with the decision to remove the Indian Ocean from the High-Risk Area as this will greatly boost commerce and remove the security cloud that’s hung over our region for more than a decade,” Ambassador Esipisu said.

The withdrawal of HRA will take effect from January 1, 2023, and will allow ship owners and security providers to adjust their operations.

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