In June 2018, the 5th edition of the piracy-specific Best Management Practice (BMP5) was published compiling a useful and comprehensive guidance which introduces effective measures for the protection of crew, vessels and cargo while transiting the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. The new edition supersedes BMP4.
Given that regional instability has introduced other maritime security threats, which include deliberate targeting of ships by extremist groups and collateral damage arising from regional conflict, BMP5 aim to mitigate the risk from piracy and other maritime security threats. Additionally, along with BMP5 publication, a Global Counter Piracy Guidance is now available for companies, masters and seafarers as well as updated guidelines (version 3) for operators and masters suggesting effective measures to avoid piracy attacks in the GoG.
EUNAVFOR has welcomed the announcement of the publication noting that ”BMP5 continues to strongly encourage shipping operators to register their transits with EU NAVFOR MSCHOA and to follow the self-protection advice contained within BMP5”
According to latest OBP report, the situation in the Gulf of Guinea hasn’t been improved while Somalia’s piracy comeback is notable, after a five-year hiatus, proving that Somali criminal networks are still capable of sophisticated attacks.
Also, ICC’s IMB Piracy Reporting Center noted that Nigeria remains risky highlighting the need for vigilance in the Gulf of Guinea. In 2018Q1, the GoG accounted for 29, more than 40% of the global total. Recently, the hijacking of product tankers from anchorages in the Gulf of Guinea is of great concern. The intent of the perpetrators is to steal the oil cargo and kidnap crew, IMB stated.
The BMP5 were produced and supported by many major shipping associations focusing on the following fundamental requirements:
1.Understand the threat: Maritime threats are dynamic and obtaining current threat information is critical for risk assessment and decision making.
2.Conduct risk assessments: Companies must conduct risk assessments and identify ship protection measures.
3.Implement ship protection measures such as harden the ship, train the crew, enhance lookout and follow Flag State and military guidance
4. Report: It is of outmost importance to report any incident and suspicious activity to UKMTO and register with MSCHOA. Also, when vessels are attack, they must send distress signals
5. Cooperate: operators and security forces need to collaborate in order to prevent piracy incidents, therefore there is need for cooperation with other shipping and military forces, with law enforcement to preserve evidence and welfare providers.
In addition, a new industry website has been launched by industry’s associations for companies and mariners seeking guidance on a wide range of Maritime Security Issues.
How to avoid being a victim of piracy and armed robbery
The global counter piracy guidance highlights that ”if attackers cannot board a ship, they cannot hijack it” suggesting the following
DO NOT be alone
- Report to the relevant reporting centre and Register Transit
- Co-operate with military or other counter piracy services where such missions exist
- It is recommended to keep AIS turned on
DO NOT be detected
- Keep track of NAVWARNS and visit relevant websites for known pirate operating locations
- Consider the appropriate level of lighting to be used in areas of risk
DO NOT be surprised
- Increased Vigilance – lookouts, CCTV and Radar
DO NOT be vulnerable
- Use visible (deterrent) and physical (preventative) Ship Protection Measures
- These could include: razor wire, use of water/ foam etc.
- Provide additional personal protection to bridge teams
DO NOT be boarded
- Increase to Maximum speed
- Manoeuvre the ship without severely reducing speed.
DO NOT be controlled
- Follow well practiced procedures and drills
- Use of Citadels (Only with prior agreement Master/Company and fully prepared and drilled – noting a Naval/Military response is not guaranteed)
- Deny use of tools, equipment and, access routes
Click herebelow to view the documents
BMP5 – Best Management Practices 5 (June 2018) – Updated (!! BMP5 supersedes BMP4!!)
Global Counter Piracy Guidance for Companies, Masters and Seafarers (June 2018) – NEW
Guidelines for owners, operators, masters operating in the GoG (June 2018) – Updated