Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the Coast of Somalia

19 March 2009

Present information suggests that whilst pirates operating out of Somalia remain active, this year has thus far seen a welcome decrease in the number of successful attacks upon merchant ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and surrounding waters.  The reduction in ships held suggests that Somali pirates have the capacity to increase activity again and therefore it would be prudent to maintain preparedness to counter an attack.

A number of organisations, led by shipowner organisations and war risk underwriters, amongst others, have developed a document entitled Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the Coast of Somalia (BMP), which seeks to provide practical information to assist vessels to prepare for the risk of pirate attack in the  region. A copy of the BMP is attached. In addition to those guidelines, a booklet entitled Piracy The East African/Somalia Situation - Practical Measures to Avoid, Deter or Delay Piracy Attack has been prepared by OCIMF, in conjunction with other interested parties (including Intertanko, Intercargo and BIMCO). The booklet is under print presently but a link from the London Club website to an electronic copy will be established, once available.

Both the BMP and the OCIMF booklet encourage vessels transiting the region to make use of the Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA) and to register passage with the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA). The MSCHOA oversee the Group Transit System through the MSPA so that the best deployment is made of the military resources available. The MSCHOA send an explanation of how the Group Transit System is operated to all vessels that register. We have been provided with a copy of the current instructions, which can be forwarded to Members by e-mail upon request to