Best practices recommended for transiting piracy high risk area as per BMP4:
Piracy is the act of boarding or attempting to board a ship with hostile intentions. Once pirates have boarded a ship and taken control by suppressing the crew, the ship is said to be hijacked.
Hijacking is mainly of two types:
- By terrorists – to gain world attention, to release someone in captivity or for ransom or a combination of these.
- For financial gains – it can be for ransom money or for theft of cargo.
Actions prior to entry:
- Prepare the vessel as per guidelines given in BMP4.
- Provide additional lookouts for each watch, especially night watches.
- Emphasize on a careful radar watch and use of nigh vision optics.
- Place several dummies at visible locations to give an impression of a large number of persons on watch.
- Give enhanced protection to the bridge by covering glass windows with steel gratings or metal plates, making a wall of sandbags, double layer of chain link fence, anti-RPG screens, etc.
- Keep Kevlar jackets and helmets for the bridge team. If possible, these should be of non-military colour.
- Many operators provide armed security guards for HRA transits.
- All doors and accesses must be securely shut and only one access must be used throughout the HRA transit.
- Physical barriers such as razor wires or electrified barriers must be used to prevent pirates from boarding the vessel or at least delaying their boarding.
- Water cannons must be fixed in place and foam monitors pointed to the ship side and use in order to deter or delay the pirates boarding attempt.
- A unique alarm must be decided upon and sounded in case of a pirate attack.
- A citadel must be in place and drills must be carried out prior entry into HRA so that all crew members are aware of the alarm signal and action to be taken on hearing the alarm.
- Emergency contact list with all important numbers such as CSO, MSCHOA, UKMTO, etc must be readily available.
- SSAS must be tested and confirmed as operational.
During HRA transit:
- Proper look out must be kept for suspicious crafts or movements.
- Vessel must participate in the UKMTO and MSCHOA reporting schemes and must proceed at maximum available speed while transiting the HRA.
- When suspicious boats are sighted, the vessel must commence various monoeuvres in order to determine whether the boat is concern or not.
- The vessel must sound the ship’s whistle to warn the pirates that they have been noticed. The armed guards will fire warning shots.
- The Master must be called on the Bridge well in time and once boats are approaching, the emergency alarm must be raised so that all crew proceed to the designated area and later move to the Citadel.
- Pumps must be started for the water cannons and foam monitors so as to delay the boarding.
- Master must call UKMTO well before pirates have boarded. When pirate boarding is imminent, the Master should also send the SSAS alert.
- Once the pirates have boarded, the Master must stop engines and proceed to Citadel with the Bridge Team. Engine Room team must black out the vessel and proceed to the Citadel.
- If all crew members are available in Citadel and no one is missing, then there are high chances of the Navy / Military forces to come for rescue.
- If caught by the Pirates, crew members must not retaliate with aggression, but be calm and patient.