The UK P&I Club (“The UK Club”) is one of the leading shipping protection and indemnity mutual insurers. It had observed an increase in incidents in pirate activity from Somali to West Africa, particularly offshore Nigeria.
So, it cautions its members to strictly adhere to the following when travelling through West Africa:
- A heightened state of security is to be maintained including additional watch-keeping, roving patrols and fire hoses rigged at the railings; outside doors of the accommodation closed and locked from the inside and temporary barriers erected around the outside stairwells. The risk of attack is high when the ship is at anchor or is drifting off a port or when carrying out Ship-to-Ship (STS) transfer operations.
- Voyage-specific risk assessment is to be performed well in advance as recommended in Section 3 of the Best Management Practices Volume 4 (BMP4).
- Limit the use of lighting at night and reduce the power or turn off the Automatic Identification System (AIS). However, local laws regulating the operation of AIS should be considered, and AIS should be reactivated immediately in the event of the ship being attacked.
- Strictly follow Guidelines for Owners, Operators and Masters for Protection against Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea Region, to be read in conjunction with BMP4.
- When a vessel is on a regular rotation or at anchorage / conducting STS operations over a prolonged period particular care should be taken to limit external communications with third parties.
- Regular reporting to The Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre Gulf of Guinea (MTISC – GoG) while operating within the Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA), which is shown on Admiralty chart Q6114.
- West African authorities closely regulate armed guards, and so authorities have to be informed of security consultants on board (whether armed or unarmed).
Source: UK P&I