(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) Piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea region is an established criminal activity and is of increasing concern to the maritime sector with recent attacks becoming more widespread, violent and the whole situation more complex and dynamic
To address this issue BMP â West Africa (WA) has been produced to help ships and seafarers avoid becoming the victims of maritime security incidents in these waters.
This publication aims to help ships plan their voyage and to detect, avoid, deter, delay and report attacks. Experience has shown that application of the recommendations in this publication makes a significant difference to the safety of seafarers.
The BMP contained in this publication mitigate the risk from piracy and armed robbery.
However, differences in attack methods from other threats may require other forms of mitigation. The consequences of not adopting effective security measures can be severe.
Some pirates have subjected crew to violence and other ill treatment and extended periods of captivity. Other attacks have demonstrated an intent to damage ships, seize the cargo and endanger life.
Other maritime crime in the region, such as the trafficking of firearms, humans and narcotics, migrant smuggling and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, can contribute to insecurity.
Among other mentioned measures, the Master should implement the following actions to assist in raising vigilance on board:
- Provide additional, fully briefed lookouts.
- Maintain an all-round lookout from an elevated position. During STS operations there is a tendency for members of the crew to be looking âinâ not âoutâ.
- Enhanced vigilance may be required for exposed fender and mooring stations where SPM have been removed.
- Consider shorter rotation of the watch period to maximise alertness of the lookouts.
- Maintain sufficient binoculars for the enhanced bridge team, preferably anti-glare.
- Consider the use of thermal imagery optics and night vision aids as they provide a reliable all-weather, day and night surveillance capability.
- Maintain a careful radar watch and monitor all navigational safety warnings and communications, particularly VHF and GMDSS alerts.
- Consider placing well-constructed dummies at strategic locations around the ship to give the impression of greater numbers of crew on watch.
- Consider using CCTV and fixed search lights for better monitoring. Fixed search lights can deter approaches from the stern.
- Consider mounting anti-piracy mirrors on the bridge wings to make looking aft easier.
- The accommodation and pilot ladders, if rigged, should be kept at main deck level and lowered when required only.
- When in port:
â Access to the vessel must be controlled.
â Regular security rounds should be conducted.
- Ensure the crew, especially those assigned to Security Duties are well rested.
The BMP West Africa can be download below: