Section 4: Planning

Company planning

Together with the following, the output of the risk assessment will help develop the ship’s voyage plan:

  • Regular review of the threat and risk assessments. Plans should be updated as necessary.
  • Review of the Ship Security Assessment (SSA), Ship Security Plan (SSP) and Vessel Hardening Plan (VHP).
  • Guidance to the Master about the recommended route, updated plans and requirements for group transits and national convoys.
  • Company mandated Ship Protection Measures (SPM).
  • Due diligence of Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) for the possible use of PCASP.
  • Companies should consider the placement of hidden position transmitting devices as one of the first actions of hijackers is to disable all visible communication and tracking devices and aerials.
  • Review of company manning requirements. Consider disembarking of non- essential crew.
  • Crew training plans.

Information security

To avoid critical voyage information falling into the wrong hands the following is advised:

  • Communications with external parties should be kept to a minimum, with close attention paid to organising rendezvous points and waiting positions.
  • Email correspondence to agents, charterers and chandlers should be controlled and information within the email kept concise, containing the minimum that is contractually required.10

Ship Master’s Planning

Security is a key part of any voyage plan.

Prior to entering the Voluntary Reporting Area

  • Obtain the latest threat information.
  • Check the latest NAVAREA warnings and alerts.
  • Implement VRA/MSCHOA vessel registration and reporting requirements as highlighted in section 6 and annexes D and E.
  • If used, confirm PCASP embarkation plan.
  • Confirm propulsion can operate at full speed.

Prior to entering the High Risk Area

  • Implement security measures in accordance with the SSP.

Brief crew and conduct drills

The crew should be fully briefed on the preparations and drills should be conducted with the SPM in place. The plan should be reviewed and all crew briefed on their duties, including familiarity with the alarm that signals an attack, an all-clear situation and the appropriate response to each. The drills should test:

  • The SPM, including testing the security of all access points.
  • Lock down conditions, including crew safety considerations.
  • The bridge team’s security knowledge.
  • The crew’s understanding of any different actions required in the event of a pirate attack compared to other types of attack.

Other considerations

  • Prepare and test an emergency communication plan. Masters are advised to prepare an emergency communication plan, to include all essential emergency contact numbers (see annex A) and prepared messages, which should be at hand or permanently displayed near all external communications stations including safe muster point and/or the citadel. Communication devices and the Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) should be tested.
  • Define the ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) policy. It is recommended that AIS should remain switched on throughout passages through passages through the VRA and HRA, to ensure militaries can track the ship, but restrict data to ship’s identity, position, course, speed, navigational status and safety related information.
  • Reschedule planned maintenance on voyage critical equipment for transit of an HRA.

On entering the High Risk Area

  • Submit ship reports as highlighted in section 6 and annexes D and E.
  • Monitor latest threat information.
  • Ensure all access points are limited and controlled.
  • Avoid drifting, waiting, anchoring and slow steaming, particularly in the MSTC.
  • Minimise use of VHF and use email or a secure satellite telephone instead. Where possible only answer known or legitimate callers on the VHF, bearing in mind that imposters are possible.