- Cargo ships destined for the port of Mombasa no longer have to travel long routes after Kenyan sea waters in the Indian Ocean were renamed High Risk Area (HRA) by the global shipping industry.
- The renaming will reduce ocean freight and marine insurance premiums for freight.
Cargo ships destined for the port of Mombasa no longer have to travel long routes after Kenyan sea waters in the Indian Ocean were renamed High Risk Area (HRA) by the global shipping industry.
The renaming will reduce ocean freight and marine insurance premiums for freight. This will give the port of Mombasa a competitive advantage over regional entities such as the port of Dar es Salaam by reducing import and labor costs for seafarers on board.
The announcement last week of Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security (BMP-5) to the London-based 174-member International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a relief for shippers who have suffered over the past eight years.
IMO is the United Nations (UN) agency responsible for improving the safety of global shipping.
Since 2009, as cases of piracy have increased, cargo ships destined for Mombasa have had to travel the longest routes, over 300 nautical miles from the coast of the Indian Ocean, to avoid pirates. Other cargo ships hired private security guards on board their ships to increase protection.
However, increased surveillance and joint sea patrols by the Kenyan Coast Guard and the Kenyan Navy in Kenyan marine waters have resulted in a significant decline in piracy, with no incidents recorded since 2017.
For the past 18 months, Kenyan Chief Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs for Shipping and Maritime Affairs Nancy Karigithu, UK High Commissioner Manoah Esipisu has played a key role in the negotiations with “strategic guidance” from the National Development Implementation and Communication Committee (NDICC) Kenyan waters off the Red List.
The Kenyan team commended the BMP-5 for its decision and cooperation during the intensive missions that resulted in the repurposing of Kenyan marine waters to reflect the improved safety.
Shippers in East Africa are now hoping for better business.
The Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA) said the move by the global shipping industry would not only save Kenya and other East African traders millions of dollars in insurance and safety expenses, but would also encourage more ships to call at the port of Mombasa.
“The move to remove the Kenyan marine waters from a red list due to improved monitoring will reduce import costs and also encourage shipping companies that have ceased operations on this route to resume,” said SCEA Managing Director Gilbert Lagat.
This decision will not only relieve Kenya of a significant limitation on the shipping industry, it will also drastically reduce the rest of East Africa and the cost of deliveries from around the world.
Regional countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, which depend on the port of Mombasa for both their exports and imports, will also benefit from a reduction in marine insurance, making their products more competitive .
The Kenyan marine waters were designated as a high-risk area in 2009 by the BMP-5, to which the five largest associations of the shipping industry worldwide belong, after more piracy occurred in the Indian Ocean, including in Kenyan marine waters.
The groups include the International Association of Dry Cargo Ship Owners (INTERCARGO), the International Association of Independent Tank Owners (INTERTANKO), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) and the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO).
Kenya remains aware of the security challenges in the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden and will remain vigilant and continue to work with other security actors in the region such as EUNAVFOR Atalanta to prevent a recurrence of piracy in the region.
Significantly, Kenya will be involved in the next steps to develop a more dynamic threat assessment process that will benefit the shipping industry worldwide.