Heightened risk of piracy

Heightened risk of piracy

Improved weather conditions in the Horn of Africa region are likely to lead to a corresponding increase in the incidence of local pirate attacks on merchant shipping. As sea conditions improve after the monsoon season attacks tend to be more frequent, further offshore and more difficult for merchant ships to evade.

Members whose ships may be passing through the region are reminded of the latest edition of "Best management practices to deter piracy in the Gulf of Aden and of the Coast of Somalia" which is published on this website. Now in its third edition it has been substantially reworked and updated to replacing the earlier editions. We recommend that Members review this copy and distribute it among their masters and crew.

Members are strongly encouraged to register with the Maritime Security Centre - Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) via their website. This website is the best source of regularly updated information on protecting against piracy attacks drawing upon the practical experience of both the security forces in the area and commercial ship operators and their crews.

In particular, the MSCHOA registration system enables ships to be incorporated into the co-ordination of security and protection arrangements by military forces in the area.

Measures for self-protection nevertheless remain essential. Advice on such measures can be found both in BMP3 and on the MSCHOA website.

Common vulnerabilities exploited by pirates have included:

- Low freeboard - obstacles and barriers can provide effective protection from attacks

- Low speed - to date no successful attacks have occurred on ships at 15 knots or more.

- Inadequate planning and procedures

- Visibly low state of alert or evident self protective measures - vigilance should be highest at dawn and dusk, when the majority of attacks have taken place.

- Slow response by the ship - the majority of attempted hijacks have been repelled by those ships' crews who have planned and trained in advance of the passage and employed passive counter measures to good effect.

The Club endeavours to provide a useful set of key resources on maritime security in its Piracy Resources page. However, the MSCHOA website remains the recommended prime source for Members whose ships may trade through this area.




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