Specifically, the General Director of the Port Autonome of Cotonou, Port Authority, informs maritime agents, shipping agents, stevedores and shipowners that the following measures are taken in order to enhance the protection of ships calling at the port of Cotonou against acts of Port of Cotonou to help:
- Any vessel having to stay at anchorage and calling at the port of Cotonou must have a maritime agent;
- The maritime agent must announce the call of any vessel at least 48 hours prior to her arrival at the anchorage;
- A vessel whose maritime agent has not previously completed the berthing formalities before her arrival at the anchorage will not be authorized to drop anchor, except in cases of force majeure and express authorization of the Harbour Master;
- At least two (02) hours before arriving at the approach buoy, any ship arriving at the port of Cotonou must call the control tower at the Harbour Master's office in order to communicate information regarding her call, in particular the name of her maritime agent and the reason for her call (commercial operations, etc.);
- In the case where the berth is occupied: The Harbour Master will, depending on availability, allocate a lay-by berth for a vessel. The vessel must berth at this berth, otherwise it will not be authorized to anchor at the anchorage; If a lay-by berth is not available, the Naval Forces Semaphore (Cotonou Signal Station) will assign an anchorage position to the ship and an armed guard will board the ship prior her anchorage;
- The boarding of the armed Guard is compulsory and is free of charge for any ship staying at the anchorage at the port of Cotonou;
- In the event that the Master refuses the boarding of the armed guard the vessel will not be authorized to anchor; he will give his information to the control tower and will return at sea outside Benin Territorial Waters;
- Only vessels having operations to be carried out at the Port of Cotonou are authorized to anchor at Cotonou anchorage and to embark an armed guard from the Beninese Naval Forces;
- Any vessel having completed her commercial operations and which has left port must sail for her next destination except in cases of force majeure and the express authorization of the Harbour Master;
- The payment of all taxes resulting from the call of any ship is compulsory as per the Operating and Police Regulations and the other rules of the Port of Cotonou Authority.
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 BMP5 were produced and supported by many major shipping associations focusing on the following fundamental requirements:
- Understand the threat: Maritime threats are dynamic and obtaining current threat information is critical for risk assessment and decision making.
- Conduct risk assessments: Companies must conduct risk assessments and identify ship protection measures.
- Implement ship protection measures such as harden the ship, train the crew, enhance lookout and follow Flag State and military guidance
- 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
- 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.