The Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSCHOA): Safeguarding trade through the High Risk Area (Click here to read this page in Somali)

With up to 95% of EU Member States’ trade (by volume) transported by sea and 20% of global trade passing through the Gulf of Aden, EU NAVFOR gives considerable effort to safeguarding trade through this strategic area.

The Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), located within the OHQ Operations Room, is an initiative established by EU NAVFOR with close co-operation from industry. The MSCHOA provides 24-hour monitoring of vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden, whilst the provision of an interactive website enables the Centre to communicate the latest counter-piracy guidance to the Maritime Industry, and for shipping companies and operators to register their vessels’ movements through the region. EU NAVFOR, and, by association, CMF and NATO assets may then be deployed as required in the event of emergency.

Owners and operators who have vessels transiting the region are strongly encouraged to register their movements with MSCHOA to improve their security and reduce the risk of attacks or capture. Additionally, the “Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy” (BMP) and further information about combating piracy, and what action to take should they come under attack, can be downloaded.

A further initiative is the introduction of Group Transits; vessels are co-ordinated to transit together through the IRTC. This enables military forces to “sanitise” the area ahead of the merchant ships. MSCHOA will also identify particularly vulnerable shipping and co-ordinate appropriate protection arrangements, either from within EU NAVFOR, or other forces in the region. EU NAVFOR also conducts focused operations aimed at achieving specific effects within a given area or time window. By concentrating forces  EU NAVFOR can provide influence, deterrence or insight into legitimate activities, and thereby  co-ordinate better future activities to deter piracy and armed robbery at sea, and thus re-assure legitimate merchant mariners.

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