BMP5 supersedes BMP4

BMP 4 was a publication titled “Protection against Somalia Based Piracy”. Now, BMP 5 is focusing to “Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea”. The area specific (Somalia based) threat, has been replaced by a generic area term in order to include all additional piracy threats generated by other players in this area (Yemen, Aden straights, open ocean threat to Indian ocean and Arabic sea).

This publication is further supported by revised guidance for Companies (Global Counter Piracy Guidance) and updated Guidance for Golf of Guinea (Guidelines for owners, operators, masters operating in the GoG). The new edition is more comprehensive as in 77 pages includes a more structured informative guidance against the previous 95 pages of version 4.

Specifically, the three fundamentals of BMP 4; register at MSCHOA; report to UKMTO and implement ship protection measures have now revised under a more generic/streamlined approach to

  1. Understand the threat
  2. Conduct risk assessments
  3. Implement ship protection measures
  4. Report
  5. Cooperate

A more risk-based approach

The new version of BMP has a different approach to antipiracy measures implementation. The Risk/threat identification and understanding plays a key role to this edition. Additionally the implementation of antipiracy measures follows the conducted risk assessment necessary for all vessels planning to transit through identified areas of risk.

It important to focus on the fact that as in BMP 4 the HRA was clearly established (latitude – longitude), in BMP 5 reference is made to Security chart Q6099. This means that any area change will be introduced through the chart change and not by a BMP amendment.

Registration format MSCHOA changes

New items in respect of vessel constructions and applicability/availability of antipiracy measures have been added in the registration format MSCHOA. A new approach also has been incorporated in Incident reporting. The report has been divided in three parts in order to give a better situational frame for reported incidents:

  1. Vessel Details
  2. Incident Details
  3. Status and Support Requests

Finally, a new Voyage Reference card has been introduced in the new version, in order to guide an operator through all steps of BMP implementation.

An overall outcome for the BMP 5, is that in less pages, it contains more structured information and guidance, following the most common path of risk identification- risk assessment- risk mitigation (through antipiracy measures) – reporting, to be more effective. It is of essence therefore that ship operators having in mind the above should review their SMS procedures contingency plans and already existing Ship Security plans in order to be in line with new practices.

Below we have collected the ten key elements of the BMP5 outline in comparison with BMP4

BMP 5 vs BMP 4 Outline

  1. Title
  • Title BMP 4 Protection against Somalia Based Piracy
  • Title BMP 5 Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea
  1. Format
  • BMP 4 - 13 sections and 8 annexes – 95 pages
  • BMP 5 – 7 sections and 10 annexes – 77 pages
  1. Requirements
  • BMP 4: three UK based
  1. Register at MSCHOA
  2. Report to UKMTO
  3. Implement Ship Protection Measures
  • BMP 5: Five risk approached fundamentals
  1. Understand the threat
  2. Conduct risk assessments
  3. Implement ship protection measures
  4. Report
  5. Cooperate
  1. High Risk Area Identifications
  • BMP 4 – Defined with accuracy (Latitude Longitude)
  • BMP 5 – Refers to Security chart Q6099. In case of change user should get the updates from chart 
  1. Stucture
  • BMP 4: Begins with RA and measures implementation
  • BMP 5: An initial approach and identification of threat. Then Risk Assessment and Planning 
  1. Antipiracy Measures

BMP 5 has a more organized way of presenting measures. Better graphics which make items more understandable.

  1. Reporting

BMP 5 – New UKMTO suspicious/irregular activity report included

  1. Vessel Registration to MSCHOA

BMP 5: Form MSCHOA Vessel Registration changed to include additional items regarding vessels structure, and availability of anti-piracy measures.

  1. Piracy attack report

BMP -5: Form has been divided in three parts.


Additional items have been incorporated and different numbering to items has been introduced.

10. Voyage Reference card

BMP 5: A new form has been annexed to this version with a bullet list for actions required to be conducted by any vessel which requires to transit the HRA should make.