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Best Management Practices (BMP4) for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy


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Best Management Practices (BMP4) for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy

Until recent times, action taken to assist a ship in peril was directed solely towards saving lives and property. Today, account must also be taken of the need to prevent damage to the environment and efforts made to prevent or mitigate such damage. The object of this guide is to provide information to assist masters in making decisions when confronted with a perilous situation. The guide has been prepared principally with oil tankers and gas carriers in mind, but much of the advice will be appropriate to other types of ships.


The purpose of the Industry Best Management Practices (BMP) contained in this booklet is to assist ships to avoid, deter or delay piracy attacks in the High Risk Area (Suez to the North - 10°S 078°E). Experience and data collected by Naval/Military 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.


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.