United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO) is a Royal Navy capability with the principal purpose of providing an information conduit between military which (includes/security forces) and the wider international maritime trade. UKMTO delivers timely maritime security information,often acting as the primary point of contact for merchant vessels involved in maritime incidents or travelling within an area of high risk (HRA).
UKMTO also administers Voluntary Reporting Areas (VRAs), as detailed in a variety of Maritime Security Charts. These schemes are to enhance the security of merchant vessels and therefore vessels/masters/CSOs and Companies are encouraged to send regular reports, providing their position/course/speed and ETA at their next port whilst in transit.
In the event of an incident UKMTO is able to inform relevant regional authorities and warn and advise vessels in the near vicinity of the incident (See and Avoid process). The information is provided to the wider shipping industry, therefore providing ship owners and Masters with information that could affect their own company risk assessment in that transit.
UKMTO receives information from many organisations within the region including a variety of maritime operations centres and port authorities, this enables enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA) that is utilised in supporting the global maritime trade.
All information received by UKMTO is strictly controlled in a secure information system and recognises that the source and content of the information is often sensitive. It is important to note that whilst UKMTO liaises with military maritime operations, its role is not to coordinate a military response.
UKMTO strives to understand the global maritime environment therefore directly supporting the maritime industry. It achieves this by knowledge of events that can impact the security, safety, environment and subsequently the safe navigation of the sea.
Voluntary Reporting Area
Provides Maritime Security Guidance (MSG) to the mariner operating in the Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA). It receives reports and information on suspicious incidents from merchant shipping and shares that information with its regional, national contacts, as well as Industry and vessels operating in that area.
The Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA) as described on UKHO Chart Q6099
All vessels operating within the VRA are encouraged to register with the UKMTO. Registering establishes direct contact between the reporting vessel and UKMTO Once direct contact has been established the UKMTO is able to:
- Inform / warn the vessel reporting about maritime incidents which may affect that vessel.
- Receive reports of maritime security incidents and suspicious activity from the reporting vessel.
- Share information provided by the reporting vessel to the appropriate authorities within the region.
- Inform the reporting vessel about suspect vessels in the VRA.
- Assist with other information enquiries from the reporting vessel.
Vessels are also encouraged to report positional information daily while operating in the VRA (including when at anchor or berthed alongside) using one of the reporting forms as contained within this website.
UKMTO receives information from a large number of sources. In addition to the invaluable information received from vessels reporting from the VRA. UKMTO also receives information from many other organisations within the region including military maritime operations’ centres and port authorities. From the information received and the maritime domain picture produced, UKMTO is able to provide direct warnings of maritime security incidents (Attacks; Hijacks; Robbery; Boardings) to reporting vessels, and wider Industry. UKMTO also provides more general warnings in the form of advisory notices to vessels concerning suspicious incidents .
UKMTO shares relevant information with appropriate authorities within states in the region. All information received is strictly controlled in a secure information system and recognises that the source and content of the information is often extremely sensitive.
It is important to note that whilst UKMTO liaises with military maritime operations centres its role is not to coordinate a military response.