The current security situation in the southern part of the Red Sea and western part of Gulf of Aden is unclear and unpredictable. Recent attacks demonstrate an increased threat against civilian ships in the area, regardless of Flag.

To reflect the risk of direct attacks and collateral damage on civilian ships the maritime security (MARSEC/ISPS) level is set to:

  • MARSEC/ISPS level 3 for the southern Red Sea (South of N018° 00’)
  • MARSEC/ISPS level 3 for Bab el Mandeb
  • MARSEC/ISPS level 3 for Yemeni TTW and the traffic separation zone in the Gulf of Aden (East to E053°00’)
  • MARSEC/ISPS level 2 for the remaining area of Gulf of Aden


The Norwegian Maritime Authority strongly advise all Norwegian flagged vessels not to transit trough the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, if possible, at present time. 

The MARSEC/ISPS level is in effect until further notice.


Security Situation

Red Sea and the Yemen conflict

The ongoing war in Yemen and recent developments in the region negatively impact the maritime security situation in the in the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The threat against merchant ships in these waters have increased significantly since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in October 2023. The Yemen-based Houthi militia has declared solidarity with Hamas and as a result declared to attack merchant ships with links to Israel.

Attacks by the Houthi militia against merchant vessels have since the beginning of December 2023 increased in frequency and unpredictability. The threat was initially against vessels that could be affiliated with Israel regardless of flag, but the Houthis have also expanded their targeting scope and attacked vessels with no direct link to Israel.

With the recent naval operations against the Houthis by the U.S and its allies as part of Operation Prosperity Guardian, there is an increasing risk that ships associated with these states might become targeted by the Houthis. Recently, the Houthi militia have also attacked merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden and not only in the southern Red Sea. There is a considerable risk of collateral damage for ships sailing in these waters.

Advice on mitigation measures:

  • All vessels should report to the UKMTO and register with the Maritime Security Centre for the Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) in accordance with industry BMP5 and take advice from the coalition forces operating in the area.
  • CSO and SSO are advised to closely follow the development of the situation in the area by using reliable sources.
  • Threat assessments for the region are also provided by EUNAVFOR and can be found on the MSCHOA website.
  • Utilize BMP5 in preparations and operations.

Other information

NMA will also make a reference to the Act of 21 June 2013 No. 102 relating to employment protection, etc. for employees on board ships (Ship Labour Act) Section 9-5 Right to leave service which entitle a person working on board to leave service on board if there is war or war-like conditions in waters in which the ship shall sail or in a port for which the ship is bound.