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New warlike area recommendations agreed by UK and Dutch bodies

1 December 2023

UK and Dutch bodies concerned with hazards to seafarers arising due to warlike activity or piracy have issued new provisions for transiting the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Sea of Azov and Black Sea.

The UK Warlike Operations Area Committee (WOAC), which consists of Nautilus International, the RMT union and the UK Chamber of Shipping, has made the following recommendation to operators of vessels transiting the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden where the vessel has an owner/management connection with companies that are majority owned by Israeli nationals.

These recommendations apply south of latitude 16.5 degrees north within the Southern Red Sea, the Bab al Mandab straits, and the section of the Gulf of Aden between 45°E and 53°E and north of a straight line connecting Cape Guardafui and the western tip of the island of Socotra.

Such operators should:

a. allow any of their seafarers who choose not to proceed to the areas not to join the ship, or to leave the ship at a preceding port as appropriate; and
b. make special payments to all crew members remaining onboard of 100% of normal pay in respect of each day during which the ship is within such a warlike operations area. Such payments are to be in addition to all other remuneration earned

In addition, WOAC states that:

  • the existing NMB compensation levels should be doubled in respect of the death or detention of any seafarer working on a vessel in the area
  • companies should agree to underwrite any personal life assurance policies of seafarers serving onboard vessels in the warlike operations area that might become invalidated, as a result of their service in the warlike operations area

The recommendation applies from 1 December 2023. It will be reviewed by the Warlike Operations Area Committee not later than the end of January 2024 or if the risk changes.

Separately, Seafarers on Dutch-flagged ships have had their designated 'warlike area allowance' scheme extended again due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Nautilus International, the VWH, NEMEA and Neptune/Spliethoff – the parties responsible for the collective bargaining agreements applicable to seafarers working onboard Dutch-flagged ships – originally agreed on the scheme back in March 2022. On 31 October 2023 it was further extended until 30 November 2023, and this week was extended again until 31 December.

The geographical description of the war supplement area covers the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea north of a particular boundary.