The move will save Kenya and East Africa millions of shillings in insurance and other security expenses.
The decision was made. communicated to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations (UN) agency responsible for improving the safety of global shipping on Wednesday.
This was the result of an increased campaign Kenya to end the designation of Kenyan waters as a high risk area, which made shipping too expensive and threatened the burgeoning blue economy.
Kenyan marine waters were designated as a high risk area in 2009 by BMP-5, which includes the five largest global shipping industry associations, the International Association of Dry Cargo Ship Owners, International Association of Independent Tank Owners, International Chamber of Shipping, Oil Companies International Marine Forum and Baltic and International Maritime Council.
This followed increased piracy incidents in the Indian Ocean, including in Kenyan marine waters.
Other regional port user countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan will also benefit from the renaming, both in terms of their exports as well as depend on the port of Mombasa for their imports.
Merchants will benefit from the reduction in marine insurance, which will make their products more competitive.
For the past 18 months, the Kenyan team has been negotiating under the guidance of the National Development Implementation and Communication Committee (NDICC) to ensure the renaming.
The consequence of naming the Kenyan maritime waters as HRA was an increase in the maritime insurance premium for cargo destined for the port of Mombasa, as well as increased workload for seafarers on board such ships because of the high risk of piracy attacks.
Cargo ships destined for Mombasa also took longer routes, more than 300 nautical miles from the coast of the Indian Ocean, to avoid pirates to counter, while other private security forces hired on board to increase protection.
Increased surveillance and joint sea patrols by the Kenyan Coast Guard and the Kenyan Navy in the Kenyan marine waters led to a significant decrease in piracy incidents, although no more piracy incidents have been registered since 2017.