Annex H: Definitions and abbreviations
The following definitions to term and categorise attacks and suspicious incidents that are reported from shipping inside the VRA may help. This ensures the consistent identification of patterns and trends.
The Code of Practice for the Investigation of the Crimes of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships, highlights armed robbery against ships consists of:
- Any illegal act of violence or detention or any act of depredation, or threat thereof, other than an act of piracy, committed for private ends and directed against a ship or against persons or property on board such a ship, within a State’s internal waters, archipelagic waters and territorial sea.
- Any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described above.
An attack, as opposed to an approach, is where a ship has been subjected to an aggressive approach by an unidentified craft AND weapons have been discharged.
A hijack is where attackers have illegally boarded and taken control of a ship against the crew’s will. Hijackers will not always have the same objective (armed robbery, cargo theft or kidnapping).
An illegal boarding is where attackers have boarded a ship but HAVE NOT taken control. Command remains with the Master. The most obvious example of this is the citadel scenario.
Piracy is defined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (article 101). However, for the purposes of these BMP, it is important to provide clear, practical, working guidance to the industry to enable accurate and consistent assessment of suspicious activity and piracy attacks.
The following may assist in assessing what is a piracy attack. A piracy attack may include but is not limited to:
- The use of violence against the ship or its personnel, or any attempt to use violence.
- Attempt(s) to illegally board the ship where the Master suspects the persons are pirates.
- An actual boarding whether successful in gaining control of the ship or not.
- Attempts to overcome the SPM by the use of:
- Grappling hooks.
- Weapons deliberately used against or at the ship.
Suspicious or aggressive approach
Action taken by another craft may be deemed suspicious if any of the following occur (the list is not exhaustive):
- A definite course alteration towards a ship associated with a rapid increase in speed by the suspected craft, which cannot be accounted for by the prevailing conditions.
- Small craft sailing on the same course and speed for an uncommon period and distance, not in keeping with normal fishing or other circumstances prevailing in the area.
- Sudden changes in course towards the ship and aggressive behaviour.
AIS Automatic Identification System
BAM Bab el Mandeb
CMF Combined Maritime Forces
CSO Chief Security Officer
DSC Digital Selective Calling
EU NAVFOR European Union Naval Force
HRA High Risk Area
IMB International Maritime Bureau
IMO International Maritime Organization
IRTA Industry Releasable Threat Assessment
IRTB Industry Releasable Threat Bulletin
IRTC Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor
JWC Joint War Committee
MSC Maritime Safety Committee
MSCHOA Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa
MSTC Maritime Security Transit Corridor
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
PAG Pirate Action Group
PCASP Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel
PMSC Private Maritime Security Company
RECAAP Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia
RPG Rocket Propelled Grenade
RUF Rules for the Use of Force
SPM Ship Protection Measures
SSA Ship Security Assessment
SSAS Ship Security Alert System
SSP Ship Security Plan
TSS Traffic Separation Scheme
UKMTO United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations
VDR Vessel Data Recorder
VHP Vessel Hardening Plan
VMS Vessel Monitoring System
VPD Vessel Protection Detachment
VRA Voluntary Reporting Area
WBIED Water-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices