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pass through areas known for violent attacks on vessels.

The Master should ask the local agents or correspondent for advice on security in that particular port or area and the reliability of official security authorities and private firms.

Direct lines of communication should be established – where possible and reliable – with the dock, police or security authorities.

A. At anchor or alongside
Depending on the type, layout and structure of the vessel, a strategy may include
  • strict control at all gangways and accesses, allowing only authorised access
  • fairleads and hawse pipes to be sealed to prevent access
  • all upper deck lockers and doors to accommodation which are not strictly needed for the operation of the vessel to be locked bearing in mind all safety implications, including evacuation in the event of an emergency
  • all upper deck lighting to be on full
  • extra lighting over the vessel’s sides including the bow and stern
  • all ladders and ropes hanging outboard need to be taken onboard
  • large effective rat-guards to be put on mooring ropes well out of reach of the vessel’s side or jetty
  • patrols of preferably no less than two crew members during the hours of darkness, equipped with powerful search or arc lights and in direct communication with the officer in charge.

    B. Underway

    Depending on the type, layout and structure of the vessel, a strategy may include
  • making passage through areas known to be dangerous in daylight, if possible
  • using safe maximum speed
  • maintaining a constant radar and visual watch, giving a wide berth to small objects, particularly when they show no lights
  • during hours of darkness, ensuring the upper deck lighting is on full as well as extra lighting over the vessel’s side and stern, provided this does not in any way impair the ability to maintain a safe and effective lookout
  • charging fire hoses during the passage
  • making constant rounds around the vessel by preferably no less than two crew, equipped with powerful search or arc lights and in a direct communication with the officer in charge.

    C. No firearms!

    Firearms should not be used! To do so will
  • expose the Master or crew to imprisonment or execution should a pirate be killed in a hostile port
  • expose the vessel to arrest and security demands exceeding the amount of valuables the pirates could have taken from the vessel
  • increase the risk that the pirates themselves will use firearms with the possibility that a crew member may be killed or injured.

    D. Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC)
    If the vessel has been the victim of a piracy or other violent attack, the Master is advised to report the attack to the PRC of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Centre can be contacted on a 24 hour basis. The key services of the PRC are
  • to receive reports of suspicious or unexplained craft manoeuvres, boarding and armed robbery from vessels and to alert other vessels and law enforcement agencies in the relevant region
  • to issue regular status reports of piracy and armed robbery via routine broadcasts on Immarsat-C through its safetyNETservice. Vessels can also obtain these status reports by contacting the PRC
  • to collate and analyse all information received and issue consolidated reports to interested parties, including the IMO.

    For further details and contact details of the PRC please see section 3.18 Violent acts, piracy, robbery and others.