Maritime Security Directive on Piracy: Update

The Notice of Availability for the US Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Directive 104-6 (Rev 5) is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register tomorrow (January 13th). My earlier speculation that Revision 5 increased the area of the Indian Ocean considered to be High Risk Waters is borne out by the advance copy of the Notice ferreted out by Cryptome, which states that this latest version of the Maritime Security Directive “addresses the expanding operating area of Somali pirates.” It also says, however, that the Revision furnishes US-flagged ships “additional guidance for operations in the Indian Ocean.” The sanitized version of Revision 5 (Port Security Advisory (2-09) (Rev 3)) does not mention any substantive changes in the guidance provided, and can be read as indicating that there aren’t any. So it’s not clear what’s new other than a broader application of the earlier guidance. The Notice also indicates that the Maritime Security Directive “includes an annex that provides specific direction for vessels operating around the Horn of Africa.” This is not new, however, as this annex has been a part of the Directive at least since Revision 1, although the Notices of Availability for Revision 4 and earlier versions do not seem to have mentioned it. But it is possible that unspecified changes have been made to this Annex. With the availability of Revision 5, MARSEC Directive 104-6 is no longer valid. 
Owners and operators of US-flagged vessels that make international voyages may (indeed must) obtain Maritime Security Directive 104-6 (Rev. 5) from their local Captain of the Port, the cognizant District Commander, or the Office of Vessel Activities. As the Directive is a Sensitive Security Information (SSI) document, appropriate owners and operators will be required to prove that they are “covered persons” with a “need to know” under the SSI regulations and that they will safeguard the SSI in the Maritime Security Directive in accordance with those regulations. UPDATE to the Update: The Notice of Availability appears in the January 13th edition of the Federal Register, see 76 Fed. Reg. 2402-03. NOTE: This post may be copied, distributed, and displayed and derivative works may be based on it, provided it is attributed to Maritime Transportation Security News and Views by John C. W. Bennett,
By Professional Mariner Staff