Following an emergency ad hoc meeting of the IBF Warlike Operations Areas Committee in on October 7, the International Bargaining Forum agreed to establish a 'high risk area' covering the major part of the with immediate effect. Reports of recent attacks and developments by naval services to provide protection were discussed at length and it was agreed that the increase in the number of attacks and the number of seafarers currently held hostage was deeply disturbing, although the establishment of the Maritime Security Patrol Area was welcomed as an effort to bring greater security to seafarers serving on ships transiting the Gulf.
The Memorandum of Agreement agreed at the meeting will provide that seafarers on ships covered by IBF Agreements will receive a bonus equal to 100% of their basic wage while the vessel is in transit. The normal rates of death and disability compensation for seafarers will be doubled during this period.
The growing effectiveness of the channel through the Gulf provided by the designated, IMO-approved, Maritime Security Patrol Area was recognized by the Committee and the intervention of armed naval forces in the region was welcomed. The Committee therefore agreed that seafarers on ships that used this corridor for the transit should continue to be expected to serve on their vessels during transits. However, seafarers that served on ships that chose not to use the Maritime Security Patrol Area should have the right to refuse to make the transit and to be repatriated at owners expense.
A copy of the Memorandum of Agreement adopted by the IBF Committee is attached and it sets out the co-ordinates of the IBF High Risk Area.