Trust in Training and Integrity


Download the Section II

Somali Pirate Activity – The High Risk Area

Download the Section III

Risk Assessment

Download the Section IV

Typical Pirate Attacks

Download the Section V

Reporting Procedures

Download the Section VI

Company Planning

Download the Section VII

Ship Master’s Planning

Download the Section VIII

Ship Protection Measures

Download the Section IX

Pirate Attack

Download the Section X

If the Pirates take Control

Download the Section XI

In the Event of Military Action

Download the Section XII

Post Incident Reporting

Download the Section XIII

Updating Best Management Practices

Download Annex A

Useful Contact Details

Download Annex B

UKMTO Vessel Position Reporting Form

Download Annex C

Piracy Definitions

Download Annex D

Follow-up Report

Download Annex E

MSCHOA Vessel Movement Registration Form

Download Annex F

Additional Guidance for Vessels Engaged in Fishing

Download Annex G

Additional Advice for Leisure Craft Including Yachts

Download Annex H

Supporting Organisations

Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy

Section 1



The purpose of the Industry Best Management Practices (BMP) contained in this booklet is to assist ships to avoid, deter or delay piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia, including the Gulf of Aden (GoA) and the Arabian Sea area
Experience, supported by data collected by Naval forces, shows that the application of the recommendations contained within this booklet can and will make a significant difference in preventing a ship becoming a victim of piracy.


The potential consequences of not following BMP, as set out in this booklet, are severe. There have been instances of pirates subjecting their hostages to violence and other ill treatment. The average length of a hijacking of vessel and her crew is over 7 months. (Note Naval/Military forces often refer to a “pirated” vessel rather than a “hijacked” vessel, the meaning is however the same).


For the purposes of the BMP the term ‘piracy’ includes all acts of violence against ships, her crew and cargo. This includes armed robbery and attempts to board and take control of the ship, wherever this may take place. Somali pirates have to date sought to hijack a vessel, her cargo and crew and hold them until a ransom demand is paid.


Where possible, this booklet should be read with reference to the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (, and the NATO Shipping Centre, (, websites which provide additional regularly updated advice (including up to date alerts on piracy attacks).


Not all Ship Protection Measures discussed in BMP4 may be applicable to every ship type.


This BMP4 booklet updates the guidance contained within the 3rd edition of the Best Management Practice document published in June 2010.


This booklet complements piracy guidance provided in the latest IMO MSC Circulars, see the IMO website at


Nothing in this booklet detracts from the Master’s overriding authority to protect his crew, ship and cargo.

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