Annex C: Common understanding
It is important to have a common understanding when reporting attacks and suspicious activity.
The following are guidelines to assist in assessing what is an attack or what constitutes suspicious activity.
- The use of violence against the ship, its crew or cargo, or any attempt to use violence.
- Unauthorised attempts to board the ship where the Master suspects the persons are pirates or other unauthorised persons.
- If weapons or RPGs are fired.
- Attempts to place a WBIED against the hull.
- Sighting of missile firing.
- An actual boarding, whether successful in gaining control of the ship or not.
- Attempts to overcome the SPM using:
- Grappling hooks.
- Weapons deliberately used against or at the ship.
- The number of crew onboard relative to its size.
- The Closest Point of Approach.
- The existence of unusual and non-fishing equipment onboard, e.g. ladders, climbing hooks or large amounts of fuel.
- One vessel towing multiple skiffs or has skiffs onboard.
- The type of vessel is unusual for the current location.
- Small boats operating at high speed.
- If a vessel appears unmanned.
- The vessel is not transmitting on AIS.
- The vessel is not flying a Flag.
- Vessel is flying two or more flags simultaneously.
- Skiffs operating far from the coast.
- Vessels fishing outside of normal fishing zones.
- Windows of vessel covered or blanked out.
- Dhows/skiffs rafted up.
- No lights during hours of darkness.
- Skiffs with two or more outboard motors.
- Dhows/skiffs stopped in the water, no evidence of fishing.
- Vessels loitering East of Socotra, South of the Makran Coast or in the vicinity of Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Pemba, Salalah, Ras Fartek or the IRTC.
- Packages hanging outboard of a vessel.
- Excessive communications antennas.
This is not an exhaustive list. Other events, activity and vessels may be deemed suspicious by the Master of a merchant ship having due regard to their own seagoing experiences within the region and information shared amongst the maritime community.
If in doubt, report and contact UKMTO.