Recent attacks against merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Bab Al Mandeb have highlighted the risks associated with transiting these waters. The multiple types of risks and the broad expanse of ocean on which these attacks can occur dictate that Naval Forces must be used in the most efficient manner possible. To assist in this, CMF has established a Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC).
The MSTC consists of:
- The Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC)
- The BAM TSS and the TSS West of the Hanish Islands
- A two-way route directly connecting the IRTC and the BAM TSS
When combined, these sections as a whole will be termed the MSTC. The purpose of this corridor is to provide a recommended merchant traffic route around which Naval Forces can focus their presence and surveillance efforts. It is recommended that all vessels use the MSTC to benefit from military presence and surveillance.
Operating in these waters requires thorough planning and the use of all available information. The maritime threat environment is dynamic; the risks will not remain constant for subsequent visits. It is essential therefore, that Masters, Ship Security Officers and Company Security Officers carry out detailed Risk Assessments for each voyage to the region and for each activity within the region.
CMF advises that all vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden and Bab Al Mandeb should follow the guidance of BMP4 to the maximum extent possible and consider the use of embarked armed security. Recent piracy attacks in 2017 serve to emphasise the importance of robustly following this guidance.