West African anti-piracy guidelines updated

Oct 03 2014

The international shipping industry associations has issued an updated version of ‘Guidelines for Owners, Operators and Masters for Protection Against Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea Region.’

These guidelines were jointly developed by Round Table members BIMCO, ICS, INTERTANKO and INTERCARGO.

Incidents of piracy and armed robbery off West Africa have recently occurred as far south as Angola and as far north as Sierra Leone.

These attacks have become increasingly violent, often involving firearms and cases of kidnapping for ransom have also become more common. 

Although the nature of the attacks against shipping in West Africa differs from that of Somalia-based piracy, the basic principles of the Best Management Practices, previously developed by the industry to help protect against piracy in the Indian Ocean, are also applicable. 

Therefore the guidelines should be read in conjunction with BMP4, which should be tailored to the specifics of the threat in West Africa to provide comprehensive advice on avoiding and deterring criminal acts and armed robbery in the region, the associations said

The updated guidelines also take into account of new regional maritime security initiatives in West Africa, in particular the Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre for the Gulf of Guinea (MTISC GOG), which is now providing a focal point for information on countering piracy and maritime crime in the region.

The guidelines have therefore been released in conjunction with the launch of the new MTISC GOG website, which includes regional maritime security guidance and MTISC-GOG reporting procedures to help ensure a co-ordinated approach among ships operating in the Gulf of Guinea.

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