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Dear Member

The international shipping associations and the co-sponsors BMP 4, following an extensive review of the piracy threat in the Indian Ocean, during which UK Chamber members were fully consulted, have agreed to a revision of the co-ordinates marking the boundaries of the High Risk Area. 

The revised Indian Ocean Piracy High Risk Area will be bounded by: 

In the Red Sea:           Latitude 15oN
In the Gulf of Oman:    Latitude 22oN
Eastern limit :             Longitude 065oE
Southern limit:             Latitude 5oS

Details are attached which provide the amendment to section 2 of BMP 4, and accompanying guidance on the revision’s impact and practical measures for implementation in the context of company and shipboard planning as described in sections 6 and 7 of BMP 4. The revisions will formally apply from 1 December 2015, in order to give shipping companies and crews time to adapt to them.  Also attached is the letter to the Chairman of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia advising him of the changes.

It is strongly recommended that the revisions are taken into account as soon as possible for voyages through the VRA and HRA for which risk assessments are yet to be conducted.  The changes may have implications for charter party and insurance agreements as well as ship security.  The revisions are available on industry websites,, as well as NATO Shipping Centre ( and MSCHOA ( 

It is not intended to republish BMP 4.  Existing copies of BMP4 should be amended to incorporate these changes.  A Notice to Mariners will be sent out advising of the changes to Admiralty Chart Q6099 and a new chart will be issued.

This revision reduces the area considered to be at high risk to attacks by Somalia-based pirate groups, but  it is stressed that pirate groups retain the ability to attack at long range, at the limits of their historical activity.  To counter this threat the three pillars of BMP 4, namely registering at MSCHOA, reporting to UKMTO and implementing ship protection measures on the basis of a thorough risk assessment remain essential.  It has been assessed that any reduction in self-protection measures deployed by ships transiting the HRA will present an opportunity for a pirate attack and potentially lead to a resumption of wider pirate activity in the region.  

The shipping industry remains convinced of the need for continued military counter-piracy operations and a renewal of the relevant military EU and NATO mandates to ensure that any resumption in pirate activity is not allowed to take place.

A number of implementation meetings will take place before 1 December and members will be kept advised of developments. Please contact me if you require further information now or at any stage.


Gavin Simmonds
Policy Director Security and Commercial
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HRA: Redraft Section 2 of BMP 4

Letter to the CGPCS Chairman
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