Piracy is a growing threat world-wide, but particularly in waters in the vicinity of Somalia.
Getting the Word Out is an article explaining how regional information brokers keep mariners apprised of threats posed by pirates operating in waters off the coast of Somalia and throughout the Western Indian Ocean area.
I presented my paper on Piracy and risk reduction at the Lloyd’s 360 Conference in New York City on October 29, 2009.
Through the kind permission of the publishers of Maritime Reporter and Engineering News, attached is the article that I wrote for the June 2009 issue of that magazine, entitled Ratcheting down the risk of piracy.
The attached document provides links to resources that may be useful in Avoiding and deterring piratical attacks.
On August 16, 2011, the fourth edition of Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia-based Piracy (BMP4) was released electronically. It provides the most current suggested planning and operational practices for ship operators and masters transiting the High Risk Area. It was developed under IMO sponsorship by a group of maritime industry associations.
On August 17, 2010, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed the charge of piracy against six young Somali men for an armed assault made on the USS Ashland on April 10, 2010 in the Gulf of Aden. The court ruled that, because the assault was unsuccessful, it could not constitute piracy under federal law. United States v. Said, No. 2:10cr57 (E.D. Va., August 17, 2010).
The IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) adopted a resolution strongly urging all those concerned to take action to ensure that as a minimum and as recommended in the BMP:
(a) ships’ masters receive updated information before and during sailing through the defined High Risk Area;
(b) ships register with the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) and report to United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) Dubai; and
(c) ships effectively implement all recommended preventive, evasive, and defensive measures. Res.MSC.324(89) (20 May 2011).
The IMO recently issued four circulars relating to piracy and armed robbery against ships.
MSC.1/Circ.1332 relates to piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters off the coast of Somalia. The circular forwards an updated set of best management practices to deter piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, which was developed by a working group of industry organizations. The practices are intended to address the unique challenges presented in this area. Additional guidance is provided for vessels engaged in fishing in these waters.
MSC.1/Circ.1333 provides recommendations to Governments for preventing and suppressing piracy and armed robbery against ships.
MSC.1/Circ.1334 provides guidance to shipowners and ship operators, shipmasters and crews on preventing and suppressing acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships.
MSC.1/Circ.1335 provides an updated version of the best management practices to deter acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships.
Previously, the IMO promulgated guidance on investigation of these criminal acts.
Res.A.922(22) – Code of practice for investigation of crimes of piracy and armed robbery against ships.
The IMO issued Circular Letter No. 3164 laying out recommended actions for responding to the scourge of piracy.
The United States Coast Guard recently issued various advisories and other information relating to protection of ships against piratical attacks.
USCG Port Security Advisory 2-09 (Rev. 2) – Guidance concerning US vessels operating in high risk waters. (11/23/10).
USCG Port Security Advisory 3-09 – Guidance on self-defense or defense of others by US-flag commercial vessels operating in high risk waters. (6/18/09).
USCG Port Security Advisory 4-09 (rev 2) – Guidance on compliance with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations in placing firearms on board US-flag vessels. (11/4/09).
USCG Port Security Advisory 5-09 (rev 1) – Minimum guidelines for contracted security services on board US-flag vessels in high risk waters. (7/24/09).
USCG Port Security Advisory 6-09 – Procedures for obtaining a name-based terrorism check for security personnel operating in high risk waters (HRW) in accordance with Port Security Advisory 5-09. (7/24/09).
USCG Port Security Advisory 8-09 – Port State response to request for information regarding carriage and transport of self-defense weapons aboard US commercial vessels. (10/19/09).
The Coast Guard also posted a summary of the port state responses received to date to the Department of State (DOS) weapons demarche. (10/23/09).
This was superseded by an updated summary of the port state responses received as of 9 November 2009. (11/9/09).
USCG Port Security Advisory 9-09 – Expected courses of action following attacks by pirates in the Horn of Africa region. (10/19/09).
The United Nations Security Council has issued a series of Resolutions addressing, directly or tangentially, on the suppression of piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters off the coast of Somalia. These Resolutions are linked below:
Resolution 1950 (2010)
Resolution 1897 (2009)
Resolution 1872 (2009)
Resolution 1853 (2008)
Resolution 1851 (2008)
Resolution 1846 (2008)
Resolution 1844 (2008)
Resolution 1838 (2008)
Resolution 1816 (2008)
Resolution 1814 (2008)
Resolution 2015 (2011)