Anti Piracy – Reduce the Risk of Losing Your Vessel to Pirates


Attack Profiles

Successful attacks on vessels, where asset protection is minimal, follow common vulnerabilities, which are exploited by pirates. These are as follows:

Generally the pirates will use two or more small boats capable of speeds in excess of 20 knots, these are open crafts usually called “skiffs” and they generally approach the intended target from the port quarter or stern.

The use of a mother ship is used as a mobile logistics base that carries the equipment and personnel to enable attacks to happen further out to sea, some attacks have occurred at 600 NM off the coastline.

The majority of attacks will occur at first and last light, so at these times extra vigilance is required.

Before the Transit

Prior to a transit, the following bodies should be informed and include;

The Maritime Security Centre Anti Piracy Security – Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), which is the planning and coordination authority for EU Forces in the Gulf of Aden and the area off the Coast of Somalia and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which is in Dubai and is the first point of contact for vessels in the region. The day-to-day interface with Masters and the military is the UKMTO.

Before transiting high-risk areas, the owner and Master should carry out their own risk assessments to assess the likelihood of an attack by pirates. The outcome of this risk assessment should identify measures to be taken to prevent the vessel being taken by pirates.

Company Crisis Management Procedures and measures to meet the threat within the area the vessel is transiting, should be addressed.

Defensive Measures

The vessel should review its security measures and procedures and consider:

· Ensuring that the vessels routines are adjusted in advance to ensure that the crew are well rested before they enter the high risk area
· Observing radio silence or allowing minimum use of radio equipment
· Identify a safe room
· Securing access to the bridge, engine room and crew cabins
· Provision of night vision device(s) for watch personnel

During the Transit

Masters should use the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). This is recommended by the naval authorities, westbound vessels use the northern portion of the corridor and the eastbound vessels use the southern part of the IRTC.

Vessels should stay within the IRTC at all times and ensure that it keeps up with its group transit. The vessel should comply with international rules on lighting.

It is paramount that a vessel protects the crew from risk; this means that only essential crew work should be conducted on the deck whilst in the high-risk areas.

If Attacked by Pirates

Follow the ship’s pre-prepared plan which would have been issued by your company prior to the vessel entering the high risk area, activate the Ship Security Alert System (SSAS), this will alert your Company Security Officer (CSO).

Sound the emergency alarm and make PA announcements in accordance with the ship’s emergency plan, also make a Mayday call on Ch 16 and Ch 8 which is monitored by naval ships in the area.

Ensure that, if provision has been made, all non-essential crew move to the citadel and remain there until the all clear is sounded.

Maximize the vessels speed and carry out zigzag maneuvers whilst maintaining the vessels speed; generally pirates will give up the chase if they are unable to board within 30-45 minutes.

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