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Best management practices to deter piracy

This document was developed by a group of various organisations, including the ITF, and has been endorsed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the European Commission.

Click on the link ‘Best Management Practices’ to the right of this page to see the full text.

It outlines the procedures that companies and crews should follow in order to prevent ships from being attacked and hijacked.

Crews should be aware that the following factors increase the risk of a vessel being captured:

  • low freeboard
  • slow speeds
  • good weather
  • the crew and the ship not being prepared
  • the ship not reporting in to the naval authorities

Vessels whose full speed is below 18 knots should stay out of the High Risk Area.

Ships transiting the High Risk Area must report their movements to the naval authorities and follow their instructions, beginning 4-5 days before they enter the Gulf of Aden. Extra lookouts should be posted. All vessels must use the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). Ships reporting in will be given the latest advice on how to avoid piracy attacks.  

The European Commission has also emphasised that all ships must be ‘sufficiently and effectively manned’ when transiting areas at high risk of piracy.

The ‘Best Management Practices’ contain suggestions on how to secure the ship and prevent pirates from boarding.  

However, in all circumstances, crew safety is paramount. Do not put yourself at risk in following any of these procedures.