Global Counter Piracy Guidance for Companies, Masters and Seafarers

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August 2018
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This publication is jointly authored by shipping industry organisations and supported by military organisations. It provides guidance to shipping companies, Masters and mariners on both combating and reporting on piracy attacks and armed robbery against ships. The publication is free to download.

This guidance is applicable to all ship types and complements regional guidance on piracy and maritime security. It covers the latest risk/threat assessment and ship protection measures. Masters’ responsibilities are also outlined, such as the development of an Emergency Communication Plan. Internationally applicable advice is given on the use of armed guards and on responding to all levels of a piracy attack.?

Piracy and armed robbery at sea is an organised and persistent criminal activity prevalent in many parts of the world. Attackers are often aggressive and subject their victims to violence and ill treatment. Ships have been hijacked, either for a ransom payment for the release of captive seafarers, theft of cargo or both. Some seafarers have been held hostage for several years.

Experience shows that applying the recommendations in this guidance will help ships to detect, avoid, deter or delay attacks.

Not all mitigation measures in this guidance will be applicable to every ship type or in every region. Companies, CSOs and Masters should use this guidance when conducting threat and risk assessments.

The purpose of this guidance is to protect seafarers, the ship and cargo. It also aims to facilitate threat/risk assessment and planning for voyages transiting areas where the threat of piracy attack and armed robbery exists.

Section 1 Introduction

Section 2 Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships Worldwide

Section 3 Voluntary Reporting

Section 4 Company Threat and Risk Assessment

Section 5 Company Planning

Section 6 Ship Master’s Planning

Section 7 Ship Protection Measures (SPM)

Section 8 Action on Attack and/or Boarding

Section 9 Post Incident Reporting

Section 10 Humanitarian Considerations

Appendix A Other Maritime Security Threats

Annex A Western Indian Ocean Region

Annex B Gulf of Guinea Region

Annex C Asian Region

Supporting Organisations

Supporting Naval/Military Forces/Law Enforcement 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.


IFSMA was formed in 1974 by Eight National Shipmasters' Associations to unite the World's serving Shipmasters into a single professional co-ordinated body. It is a non-profit making apolitical organisation dedicated solely to the interest of the serving Shipmaster. The Federation is formed of around 11,000 Shipmasters from sixty countries either through their National Associations or as Individual Members.

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 International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO) is representing the interests of quality dry cargo shipowners. INTERCARGO convened for the first time in 1980 in London and has been participating with consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) since 1993.

INTERCARGO provides the forum where dry bulk shipowners, managers and operators are informed about, discuss and share concerns on key topics and regulatory challenges, especially in relation to safety, the environment and operational excellence. The Association takes forward its Members’ positions to the IMO, as well as to other shipping and international industry fora, having free and fair competition as a principle.

INTERCARGO is committed to safety and quality in ship operations, with a focus on operational efficiency and the protection of the marine environment.


InterManager is the international trade association for the ship management industry.

Our members are in house or third party ship managers, crew managers or related organisations and related maritime businesses?and organisations.

Collectively InterManager members are involved in the management of more than 5,000 ships and responsible for in excess of 250,000 seafarers.


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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