The International Bargaining Forum (IBF) has enforced a new lane-system for vessels sailing through the ‘High Risk Area’ of the Gulf of Aden in light of concern over the increased number of warships patrolling the region, effective from 1st February 2009.
Newly designated East and West bound transit lanes are hoped to prevent potential collisions along the traffic-crowded Gulf, and with the continued intervention of armed naval forces in the region also heavily advocated by the Committee, the two-lane system is a logical and well-backed operation.
Seafarers on ships covered by IBF Agreements will also continue to receive a bonus equal to 100% of their basic wage while the vessel is in transit, and rates for death and disability compensation for seafarers will also continue to be doubled during this period, under full agreement between the Parties.
Giles Heimann, Deputy Secretary General of the International Maritime Employer’s Committee (IMEC) said of the agreement: “We are pleased that continuing attention is being given to the very serious problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and hope that with the increase in number of warships in the region and the introduction of the new transit lanes, vessels will be more protected from aggression, however we will continue to monitor the situation very closely.
“We will likewise continue to respond to any further developments as they arise and have already agreed to a review of the “High Risk Area” at the end of February by which time the effectiveness of the new channels will be much clearer,” she added.
The IBF Committee agreed in addition that seafarers on ships using the appointed transit corridors should be expected to continue serving on the vessels during transit, however, when on ships that avoided using the specified lanes, the seafarers would have the right to refuse serving in transit and must be repatriated at the owner’s expense.