Four top shipping trade associations have released updated guidelines for owners, operators and masters that face the threat of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea region.
The document is available as a free download on the websites of BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping, Intertanko and Intercargo.
The trade associations describe what is happening as “a totally unacceptable security situation”.
Geographically, the spread of incidents appears to be expanding, with attacks recently taking place as far south as Angola and as far north as Sierra Leone.
They are also becoming increasingly violent, often involving firearms and kidnapping for ransom.
Although the nature of the attacks against shipping in West Africa differs from that of Somalia-based piracy, the basic principles of the best management practices, previously developed to help protect against piracy in the Indian Ocean, are also applicable.
The guidelines should therefore be read in conjunction with BMP4, although they seek to tailor this to the specifics of the threat in West Africa.
They also take into account new regional maritime security initiatives, in particular the Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre for the Gulf of Guinea.
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