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A set of quick reference 'Bridge Cards’ can be a useful safety aide memoire for masters and crews on vessel transiting a high-risk area - particularly during times of tension caused by piracy attacks or other security threats.

As highlighted in our previous alert “Maritime security recommendations for operations in the Persian Gulf” of 7 January 2021, heightened military activity and increased political tensions in the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden and Red Sea region continue to pose serious threats to commercial vessels. At the same time, the piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea is rising and 2020 saw the highest ever number of crews kidnapped in the region, with incidents occurring farther from shore and attackers becoming increasingly more violent. Our alert “Maritime piracy hotspots persist during 2020” of 28 January 2021 has the details.

In recognition of these continuing security threats, the following quick reference ‘Bridge Cards’ have been published:

  • IMSC Bridge Cards: The International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) has produced a set of bridge cards for use on board vessels transiting the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea region. The cards, which are intended to complement existing industry guidance and the BMP5, were updated in February 2021 to account for the increased risk of floating and limpet mines in the Middle East region. The IMSC Brochure may also be useful.
  • OCIMF Bridge Cards: The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) Maritime Security Committee has produced a set of bridge cards for use on board vessels transiting the Gulf of Guinea region​. The cards, which are intended to complement existing industry guidance and the BMP West Arica, were published in December 2020 in response to the ever-increasing threat faced by those operating in the Gulf of Guinea region.

Bridge Cards are quick reference guides that aim to support mariners during times of tension caused by piracy attacks or other security threats. They summarize and present important information in a clear, unambiguous, and easy to perceive manner, including reporting routines, contact details of regional reporting centers, how to detect a suspicious approach or attack early on, as well as recommended actions that can be taken in response to a number of malign activity situations. While the cards are complementary to the information provided in a ship’s own security plan, BMPs, and security charts, they can be a useful safety aide memoire for masters and crews to adhere to when transiting the high-risk areas. We therefore encourage ship operators and Masters to take the guidance provided in the above referenced Bridge Cards into consideration in circumstances where their vessels may be exposed to security risks.

 

Additional sources of information

The Maritime Global Security website at www.maritimeglobalsecurity.org offers industry issued best practices, including BMPs, and other guidance to mariners by geographic region and type of security threat. Relevant information is also available via Gard’s webpages “Piracy and armed robbery at sea and “Yemen – port situation”.