THE INTERNATIONAL Maritime Organization is urging the shipping industry to stay alert to piracy in the Western Indian Ocean.

The IMO and EU Naval Force Operation (EUNAVFOR) Atalanta discussed piracy in the region during a consultation at IMO headquarters this month.

IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim and EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta commander Vice Admiral Núñez Torrente agreed the shipping industry needs to maintain a high level of awareness in the region and follow best management practices (BMP) to deter piracy.

“Since 1 January 2023, the designation of the Indian Ocean High Risk Area put in place by the shipping industry has been rescinded, due to the improved piracy situation in the region,” IMO said.

“Nonetheless, shipping should remain vigilant, apply the BMP 5 and register with Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa’s voluntary registration scheme as the best way to ensure the security of navigation and immediate assistance in case of need.”

Operation Atalanta is a counter-piracy military operation in the Western Indian Ocean.

It aims to deter, prevent and repress piracy and armed robbery at sea and has extended its geographical scope north of the Red Sea.

“This broadened scope will ensure the freedom of navigation and the protection of World Food Programme and other vulnerable shipping to Somalia, while better supporting building a wider regional maritime security architecture,” IMO said.

“IMO continues to support signatory states to implement the Djibouti Code of Conduct, as amended by the Jeddah Amendment, to enhance maritime security in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.”