How To Avoid Attacks By Pirates & Armed Robbers


In summary, the fundamental requirements of any best practice to avoid attack by pirates and armed robbers are:

Understand the threat

Gather accurate information on the situation before operating in waters where attacks have been known to occur.

Closely monitor the threat situation, e.g. via websites of the IMO and International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC), and stay in close contact with the ship’s local agents and regional authorities to obtain the most up to date and reliable information available at any given time.

Depending on the threat situation, consider seeking timely expert advice from specialized maritime intelligence agencies to aid the decision making process.

Assess the risk and determine the ship protection measures to be applied. Carry out a voyage specific threat and risk assessment prior to entering the region, review the Ship’s Security Plan.

Adopt relevant ship protection measures (SPM) by following available industry best practice guidance, such as the Global Counter Piracy Guidance or any of the regional initiatives which provide more detailed guidance specific to the threat in that particular region.

When considering relevant SPMs, apply a ‘layered defence’ methodology in accordance with the example shown in the picture below. Remember that ships can be attacked both when underway, at anchor and alongside.

Note that a proper lookout is considered the most effective method of ship protection. It can help identify a suspicious approach or attack early on, allows defences to be deployed.

Prepare the crew

Brief the crew on the security arrangements identified in the Ship Security Plan.

Conduct drills prior to arriving in an area of increased risk. Many attempted piracy and armed robbery attacks are unsuccessful, countered by ships’ crew who have planned and trained in advance.

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