Coast Guard issues security directive
The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a maritime security directive in response to the rise in piracy in the waters of the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa and in light of recent pirate attacks on U.S.-flagged vessels.
Maritime Security Directive 104-6 (rev. 2) was issued Monday by the Coast Guard under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2004.
The Coast Guard said prior to entering high-risk waters, U.S.-flag vessels should establish an anti-piracy plan that includes “hardening of rigging and operating vessels in a manner to prevent attacks and subsequent boarding.
“Ships shall also use established transit lanes, erratic ships maneuvering, increased speed and cooperation with military forces patrolling the area. During transits through high-risk areas, it is the ship's responsibility to maintain a vigilant anti-piracy watch and ensure all shipboard anti-piracy precautions are in force.”
It said, “Wessel security plans for U.S.-flagged vessels that operate in high-risk waters must have security protocols for terrorism, piracy and armed robbery against ships that meet the performance standards in this directive by May 25. An annex to the directive provides further specific measures required for vessels transiting in the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden high-risk waters. All vessel security plans must be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.”
The Coast Guard said it is actively engaged in counter piracy operations under Combined Task Force 151, in which Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments and cutters are working with the U.S. Navy to deter piracy and apprehend criminals. Coast Guard units, working with U.S. Navy Visit Board search and Seizure teams, have made four interdictions, resulting in the apprehension of 30 suspected pirates.