Updated 3 July 2018

In particular, we would like to draw your attention to the Gard Alert providing information on the latest version of the piracy best management practices (BMP5). Attention should also be paid to the Gard Document "Piracy - Questions & Answers" in which we have set out some of the most frequently asked questions and the answers we have given to clients and members. Both documents are listed under the heading "Gard Material on Piracy".

Gard Material on PIRACY

Gard Alert (2018): New ‘one stop shop’ for maritime security advice

Gard Alert (2018): Piracy in West Africa – a persistent and serious threat

Gard Alert (2018): Yemen – new guidelines for threat assessments

Gard Document (2018): Piracy - Questions & Answers

Gard Alert (2017): Piracy in Asia – situation update

Gard Alert (2016): Piracy in Asia - crew abductions

Gard Alert (2016): Spike in petty theft incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore

Gard Alert (2016): Piracy in SE Asia still on the increase

Gard Alert (2015): Nigeria – use of foreign security guards

Gard Alert (2015): Gard Alert: Piracy and fuel theft on the rise in Southeast Asian waters

Gard Member Circular No. 1/2014: GUARDCON West Africa

Gard Alert (2014): West African piracy awareness areas expand

Gard Alert (2013): Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea - an update

Gard Alert (2012): Togo implements new anti-piracy measures

Gard Alert (2012): Piracy - Increasing number of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea

Gard Alert: Piracy - Recent NSC/UKMTO advice concerning fishing vessels

Gard Member Circular No. 2/2012: BIMCO GUARDCON Contract for the employment of security guards on vessels

Gard Case Studies for onboard safety meeting, No.8: Piracy attack

Gard Alert (2012): Updated instructions for commercial vessels entering Egyptian waters with weapons on board

Gard Alert (2011): Armaments on merchant vessels - South African requirements        

Gard Alert (2011): Piracy - Best Management Practices Version 4 (BMP4)

Gard Alert (2011): Venezuela - robbery of vessels in port

Gard Alert (2011): Mandatory registration with the MSCHOA and UKMTO for vessels registered under NIS and NOR flag

Loss Prevention Circulars on PIRACY

No. 02/10: Counter Piracy - Follow Best Management Practice (BMP)

No. 07-09: Master's brief before entering a high risk piracy area

No. 10-08: Maritime Security Assessment - Straits of Malacca

No. 09-08: Maritime Security Assessment - Somalia and Horn of Africa

No. 08-08: Maritime Security Assessment - Nigeria and Bay of Guinea

No. 07-08: Maritime security - Anti-piracy measures

No. 06-05: Ship alert: Piracy and hijackings off the coast of Somalia

Gard News Articles on PIRACY

Gard News 204 (2011): Piracy - Best Management Practices, version 4

Gard News 203 (2011): Piracy discussed at Gard seminar for charterers and traders

Gard News 198 (2010): Keeping the pirates at bay

Gard News 198 (2010): Conditions for deployment of Filipino seafarers in the Gulf of Aden

Gard News 198 (2010): Why registration with MSCHOA is vital in the war on piracy

Gard News 198 (2010): BIMCO piracy clauses update - Time Charterers clause/Voyage Charter Clause

Gard News 196 (2010): From a master's desk - Transiting the Gulf of Aden

Gard News 195 (2009): Piracy and time charterparty clauses - Risk shifting or risk sharing?

Gard News 195 (2009): Piracy and insurance

Gard News 192 (2009): Piracy - A major challenge

Gard News 179 (2005): Piracy and armed robbery against ships today

Other featured resources

ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB): IMB is a specialized division of the International Chamber Of Commerce (ICC). The IMB is a non-profit making organization, established in 1981 to act as a focal point in the fight against all types of maritime crime and malpractice. IMB's main task is to protect the integrity of international trade by seeking out fraud and malpractice. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) is to be the first point of contact for the shipmaster to report an actual or attempted attack or even suspicious movements thus initiating the process of response. IMB is also providing a Live Piracy Map showing all the piracy and armed robbery incidents reported to the PRC during the current year.

Maritime Security Centre - Horn of Africa (MSCHOA): The MSCHOA is an initiative established by EU NAVFOR with close co-operation from industry. The MSCHOA centre provides 24 hour manned monitoring of vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden whilst the provision of an interactive website enables the Centre to communicate the latest anti-piracy guidance to industry and for Shipping Companies and operators to register their movements through the region.

United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO):  The UKMTO office in Dubai is part of the contribution by the Royal Navy to ensure that trade can safely transit in the area North of 10 degrees South and West of 78 degrees East. They act as the primary point of contact for merchant vessels and liaison with military forces in the region. UKMTO Dubai also administers the Voluntary Reporting Scheme, under which merchant vessels are encouraged to send regular reports, providing their position/course/speed and estimated time of arrival at their next port whilst transiting the region bound by Suez, 78°E and 10°S. Vessels are strongly encouraged to report any suspicious sightings or aggressive approaches to UKMTO via telephone (+971 505 523 215). This will allow maximum opportunity for appropriate advice and assistance. Vessels are asked to follow this up with an email report and any photographs available as soon as possible after the incident (Email:ukmto@eim.ae).

NATO Shipping Centre (NSC): The NSC is the link between NATO naval forces and the merchant shipping community. The mission of the NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) is to provide improved information exchange on merchant shipping matters, and facilitate increased voluntary co-operation between military commanders and commercial shipping operators. An Alert Map, with possibilities for filtering based on time period, and a Pirate Attack Group (PAG) Map are available via the the NATO web page.

International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL): INTERPOL is the world's largest international police organization, with 188 member countries, and facilitates cross-border police co-operation, and supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime. INTERPOL's Maritime task Force (MPTF) was set up in January 2010 to co-ordinate the Organization's international response to the maritime piracy threat.

United States Central Command, Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO): MARLOs mission is to facilitate the exchange of information between the United States Navy, Combined Maritime Forces, and the commercial maritime community in the United States Central Command's (CENTCOM) Area of Responsibility. MARLO operates as a conduit for information focused on the safety and security of shipping and is committed to assisting all members of the commercial maritime community.

Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO): BIMCO is the largest of the international shipping associations representing ship-owners controlling around 65 percent of the world's tonnage and with members in more than 120 countries drawn from a broad range of stakeholders having a vested interest in the shipping industry, including managers, brokers and agents. The association's main objective is to protect its global membership through the provision of quality information and advice, and while promoting fair business practices, facilitate harmonisation and standardization of commercial shipping practices and contracts. The following publications produced by BIMCO may be useful:

  • Guidelines for Owners, Operators and Masters for Protection against Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea Region, July 2018.
  • Together with industry partners and the military, BIMCO has developed new and updated guidance relating to the construction and use of citadels in waters affected by Somalia piracy: Guidance relating to the Construction and Use of Citadels in Waters affected by Somalia Piracy (July 2011).
  • The Global Counter Piracy Guidance for Companies, Masters and Seafarers contains guidance on piracy, armed robbery that can be used by mariners around the world (July 2018).
  • BIMCO published the GUARDCON standard contract for the employment of security guards on vessels in March 2012. The contract has been developed to provide shipowners and private maritime security companies (PMSC) with a clearly worded and comprehensive standard contract to govern the employment and use of security guards, with or without firearms, on board merchant vessels. BIMCO has also published Guidance on the Rules for the Use of Force (RUF) to accompany GUARDCON which will undoubtedly be of great assistance to owners and private maritime security companies when drawing up and agreeing RUF for their own purposes. Sample copies of the GUARDCON contract, together with detailed Explanatory Notes, and the Guidance on the Rules of the Use of Force can be obtained here.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) is the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery in Asia. The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) facilitates exchange of information among the ReCAAP Focal Points through a secure web-ased Information Network System (IFN). Through this network, the ReCAAP Focal Points are linked to each other as well as the ReCAAP ISC on a 24/7 basis, and are able to facilitate appropriate responses to incident. The agency receiving the incident report will manage the incident in accordance to its national policies and response procedures, and provide assistance to the victim ship where possible. The agency will in turn, inform their ReCAAP Focal Point which will submit an incident report to the ReCAAP ISC and its neighbouring Focal Points. These incidents reports and piracy alerts are available on the ReCAAP website.

International Maritime Organization (IMO): IMO is the United Nations' specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. The IMO has produced a number of piracy guidance documents, click here for an overview. Reference is made in particular to the following IMO documents:

  • Circular Letter No.3606: Revision to coordinates of the High Risk Area (HRA)
  • MSC.1/Circ.1443: Interim guidance to private maritime security companies providing privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in the high risk area.
  • MSC.1/Circ.1444: Interim guidance for Flag States on measures to prevent and mitigate Somalia-based piracy.
  • MSC.1/Circ.1405/Rev.2: Revised interim guidance to shipowners, ship operators and shipmasters on the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in the high risk area.
  • MSC.1/Circ.1406/Rev.3: Revised interim recommendations for Flag States regarding the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in the high risk area.
  • MSC.1/Circ.1408/Rev.1: Revised interim recommendations for port and coastal states regarding the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in the high risk area.

International Group of P&I Clubs (IGP&I): IGP&I consist of thirteen principal underwriting member clubs, between them provide liability cover (protection and indemnity) for approximately 90% of the world's ocean-going tonnage. IGP&I provide a useful forum for sharing information on matters of concern to clubs and their members. These include general issues such as oil pollution and personal injury as well as current issues such as maritime security, places of refuge for ships in distress, the carriage of particular cargoes etc. IGP&I have provided a "Piracy - FAQ" document indication all thirteen club's answers to common questions from members.