BMP5: Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea

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August 2018
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This publication will help ship operators, Masters and mariners prepare for external threats to safety in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. It is jointly authored by shipping industry organisations and supported by military organisations. It complements guidance on piracy in the latest IMO MSC circulars, but also addresses threats specific to the region. The publication is free to download.

This edition of BMP is written primarily for oil tankers and gas carriers, but much of the guidance will be applicable to other types of ship. Its contents have been reordered to reflect the latest risk assessment, planning, reporting and mitigation process. Transit corridors and reporting procedures have been reviewed and emphasis is placed on the role of the mariner in reporting suspicious activity to the UKMTO.

Seafarers have encountered different security threats when operating ships in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.

The purpose of this publication is to help ships plan their voyage and to detect, avoid, deter, delay and report attacks. Experience has shown that application of the recommendations in this publication makes a significant difference to the safety of seafarers.

Piracy specific Best Management Practice (BMP), international navies and capacity building ashore have helped to suppress piracy. However, Somali piracy has not been eradicated and remains a threat.

The BMP contained in this publication mitigates the risk from piracy and other maritime security threats.

Regional instability has introduced other maritime security threats, including:

  • Deliberate targeting of ships by extremist groups
  • collateral damage arising from regional conflict.

BMP piracy measures are effective, but differences in attack methods from other threats may require other forms of mitigation. For example, attacks carried out by extremists may be more determined, as they may be willing to risk their lives.

The consequences of not adopting effective security measures can be severe. Some pirates have subjected hostages to violence and other ill treatment and periods of captivity for some hijacked seafarers have lasted for several years. Other attacks have demonstrated an intent to damage ships and endanger life.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations ( and Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa ( websites should be consulted for advice.

The Fundamental Requirements of BMP

Section 1 Introduction

Section 2 The Threat

Section 3 Threat and Risk Assessment

Section 4 Planning

Section 5 Ship Protection Measures

Section 6 Reporting

Section 7 Ships Under Attack

Annex A Contact Details

Annex B Maritime Security Charts

Annex C Common Understanding

Annex D UKMTO Reporting Forms

Annex E Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa Reporting Forms

Annex F Additional Guidance for Vessels Engaged in Fishing

Annex G Additional Advice for Leisure Craft, including Yachts

Annex H Definitions and Abbreviations

Annex I Supporting Organisations

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Published Date:
August 2018
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