The issue of piracy in Somalian, Yemani and adjacent waters has affected the route planning of Indian Ocean voyagers. Some, like Ellen and Seth Leonard, decide to take the more arduous southern route across the Indian Ocean and make landfall in South Africa rather than risk the trip through the Gulf of Aden to access the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. See Ellen Leonard's story in the upcoming July issue of Ocean Navigator.
Recognizing the threat of piracy to commercial and recreational vessels alike, the British Admiralty has just released two new charts with the latest security information. These join the Admiralty's three existing security charts.
Makes one wonder if the pirates are buying these charts too.
From the press release: The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has today published two new Admiralty Maritime Security Charts, covering the waters around India and Southeast Asia, including the Malacca Straits. These paper charts provide a single point of reference for recording the most up-to-date security information and, taken together with the UKHO's three existing security and piracy charts, create the world's first suite of security planning charts.
Admiralty Maritime Security Charts are designed to be used by ship personnel, shore-based managers and security specialists as a key voyage planning tool for recording the latest security-critical navigational information, which can be accessed for free via the UKHO's Security Related Information to Mariners (SRIM) service, and for plotting any sightings or incidents that could pose a threat to security. This includes not just piracy but also other security threats, including armed robbery, embargoes, exclusion zones, illegal fishing and smuggling, as well as routing and reporting requirements put in place by military or security forces.
The Maritime Security Charts also provide instructions on the Voluntary Community Reporting (VCR) requirements, whereby merchant vessels operating in the VCR region of Southeast Asia and surrounding waters can report any maritime security issues or unusual behaviour.
Chris Parry MBE MA, Head of UK Fleet AWNIS Unit at the UK Ministry of Defence, commented:
"The UKHO's new Maritime Security Charts provide an important voyage planning tool for vessels traveling in and around Southeast Asia. Maritime security risks can take many forms and these charts allow vessel owners, operators and mariners to build up a record of maritime security information on a purpose-designed chart that can then serve as a valuable passage planning aid. The charts also contain vital information on how to prepare to enter waters with known security issues and the contact details for regional security centres in the event of any observed activity that gives rise to security concerns."
"In conjunction with our existing charts, the UKHO now offers a suite of five anti-piracy and security charts. This is the first time that such a suite of charts has been made available for the global shipping industry, which is testament to the unprecedented level of international agreement that has been secured over the value of providing maritime security information on a chart. Used in conjunction with other navigational charts and publications, our suite of security charts will allow shipping companies to engage in safe passage planning in the majority of waters with identified security risks and to do all they can to protect their crew, vessels and cargoes."
These two new Maritime Security Carts have been produced by the British Royal Navy and cover Karachi to Hong Kong (chart number Q6112) and the Andaman Islands to the Torres Strait, including Indonesia (chart number Q6113). They add to the UKHO's existing anti-piracy chart (Q6099), which covers the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, and its two existing maritime security charts, which cover the Mediterranean (Q6110) and the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea (Q6111).
Free downloadable versions of these charts, along with the UKHO's Security-Related Information to Mariners (SRIM) updates, are available at www.ukho.gov.uk/security. The full suite of Admiralty Maritime Security Charts, including charts Q6112 and Q6113, are available to purchase from UKHO chart agents. A full list of agents can be found at <<http://www.admiralty.co.uk/SitePages/Distributors.aspx>>.