Maritime Administration News Release

News Release #: MARAD 07-10
Date: Mar 30 2010
Contact: Lori Irving
Contact Phone: 202-366-4570

Maritime Administration Warns of Increased Piracy off the Horn of Africa and Indian Ocean

Advisory Highlights Risks and Measures to Protect Crews

The Maritime Administration yesterday issued advisories to U.S. ships in the waters off the Horn of Africa and in the Indian Ocean. The warnings advise that pirate activity could increase between now and May, due to the end of the Northeast monsoon season and increased range of recent pirate attacks.

“These warnings must be taken seriously, as pirates continue to put our ships and crews at risk, even one year after the Maersk Alabama incident,” said David T. Matsuda, Acting Maritime Administrator. “Mariners must be vigilant and prepare for potential attacks when in the region.”

The Maritime Administration advisories provide guidance and information to the U.S. maritime industry on the risk of operating ships in the affected areas. With the end of the monsoon season, calmer weather and seas create a greater opportunity for pirates to operate their skiffs further away from shore and larger base ships. This area of activity has expanded to more than 1,000 nautical miles off the Horn of Africa into the Indian Ocean.

The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration routinely issues advisories, which usually warn of possible hazards and inform ships at sea of the measures they can take to avert danger. The text of the advisory can be found at the Maritime Administration web site, www.marad.dot.gov. In addition to posting on the website, advisories are broadcast by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to all U.S. flag ships and to other maritime interests.

The Maritime Administration also works with its agency partners and the U.S. maritime industry to engage foreign countries to improve security of their ships and operations, conduct ship vulnerability inspections, develop anti-piracy training programs for mariners, and advise mariners with recommendations based upon the most recent intelligence.

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