Government asks shipping companies to enhance reporting, tracking mechanism on West Asian routes

Government asks shipping companies to enhance reporting, tracking mechanism on West Asian routes

The government has issued advisories to ship companies to enhance reporting, tracking and security protocols for vessels on West Asian routes and coming into Indian waters. In a circular dated April 10, 2024, the Directorate General of Shipping (Mumbai) advised ship managers, ship masters and seafarers to enhance the mechanism for reporting and tracking maritime activities to safeguard the interest of merchant ships and their crews.

The ministry has identified sensitive zones that include the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf Of Oman, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Bab Al Mandeb Strait, Red Sea, Somali Basin and Arabian Sea region.

The circular said in the event of any incidents or security escalation due to incidents, all vessels transiting through these areas are requested to submit their details via the online Ship Reporting Form.

“This measure is critical for maintaining a comprehensive and up-to-date vessel. database, which will facilitate easier tracking and coordination at the Centre if Indian Navy is required to respond to the Incident,” it added.

According to the circular, in the event of a maritime security Incident, the vessel should contact the nearest Indian Navy vessel and coalition warship using VHF Channel 16, provide the current location, describe the situation, communicate the intended course of action and seek further guidance.

Furthermore, the circular said in light of the prevailing security concerns, it is advised to conduct comprehensive ship shore security drill encompassing all pertinent security scenarios, including but not limited to piracy and loitering munitions threat.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on April 13 seized an Israel-affiliated container vessel MSC Aries in the Strait of Hormuz. The MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) said on April 13 that it is working closely with relevant authorities for the well-being of 25 crew members and the return of the vessel.

Hours after the Iranian action, White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the ship’s crew comprised of Indian, Filipino, Pakistani, Russian and Estonian nationals.

India has been in touch with Iran to secure the release of the Indians onboard the container ship MSC Aries Iran on Saturday also launched its first direct attack on Israel by firing hundreds of drones and missiles in response to a suspected Israeli strike on its consulate in Damascus on April 1 that killed seven Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards including two generals.

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