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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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


BIMCO is the world’s largest direct-membership organisation for shipowners, charterers, shipbrokers and agents. In total, around 60% of the world’s merchant fleet is a BIMCO member, measured by tonnage (weight of the unloaded ships).

The organisation has NGO status and is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, with offices in Athens, Singapore and Shanghai.

With around 1900 member companies across 120 countries – from the largest shipowners in the world to small local port agents and law firms, BIMCO represents a wide range of maritime companies and organisations.

BIMCO’s goal is to secure a level playing field for the global shipping industry. BIMCO therefore works to promote and secure global standards and regulations for the maritime sector. The organisation’s century long effort into creating standard contracts and clauses is an expression of that aim.


The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal international trade association for the shipping industry, representing shipowners and operators in all sectors and trades.

ICS membership comprises national shipowners' associations in Asia, Europe and the Americas whose member shipping companies operate over 80% of the world's merchant tonnage.

Established in 1921, ICS is concerned with all technical, legal, employment affairs and policy issues that may affect international shipping.

ICS represents shipowners with the various intergovernmental regulatory bodies that impact on shipping, including the International Maritime Organization.

ICS also develops best practices and guidance, including a wide range of publications and free resources that are used by ship operators globally.

IGP&I Clubs
The thirteen P&I Clubs which comprise the International Group (the “Group”) between them provide marine liability cover (protection and indemnity) for approximately 90% of the world's ocean-going tonnage.


INTERTANKO (the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners) is a trade association that has served as the voice for independent tanker owners since 1970, representing the interests of its Members at national, regional and international levels.

The organisation champions an industry dedicated to support global energy networks by delivering safe, efficient and environmentally sound transport services.

INTERTANKO actively works on a wide range of operational, technical, legal and commercial issues affecting tanker owners and operators around the world. It draws on regular and direct contact with its Members and other industry stakeholders to develop and disseminate information and best practice, essential to the tanker industry.


The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) is a voluntary association of oil companies with an interest in the shipment and terminalling of crude oil, oil products, petrochemicals and gas. OCIMF focuses exclusively on preventing harm to people and the environment by promoting best practice in the design, construction and operation of tankers, barges and offshore vessels and their interfaces with terminals.

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