In a boost to Indian’s maritime security interests, the country’s west coast has been excluded from Piracy High Risk Area (HRA) by a top body of the European Union after a revision of the limits. The decision, taken yesterday by European Union Chair of the Contact Group of Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), will come into effect from December 1. The Indian Navy informed that some of country’s maritime security concerns like floating armouries and proliferation of private security are likely to be addressed due to the revision of HRA, which was extended to include the west coast of India in 2010.
This will also add t the relief of ship owners in the Indian seas, as Indian ship-owners are likely to benefit significantly on account of savings on insurance and associated operating costs.
Navy issuesd a statemnet on this regard, which read – The unanimous agreement by the shipping industry ’round- table’ to now redraw the eastern limit of the HRA is a welcome move which is likely to address some of India’s maritime security concerns, which have been highlighted by the Government of India (MoD/Indian Navy, MEA, DG Shipping) in various forums since 2012. Affirmative action and increased surveillance contributed towards decline of piracy incidents in the East Arabian Sea and the last reported piratical activity in the East Arabian Sea was in March, 2012.
Earlier, keeping in context the spread of piracy towards East Arabian Sea, international shipping industry extended the eastern limit of piracy HRA in June 2010 to 78oE longitude, thereby including the west coast of India within the HRA. The extension of the eastern limit of the HRA from 65 oE to 78oE led to security concerns on account of the presence of private security personnel on merchant vessels transiting the piracy HRA, and the presence of floating armouries off the Indian coast.
Indian Navy has been actively safeguarding piracy concerns due to which, in addition to deployment of Indian Naval ships in the Gulf of Aden since October 2008 for anti-piracy patrols, robust action taken by Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard – resulted in arrest of 120 pirates from four pirate mother-ships between January-March 2011.