1.1 The purpose of the Industry Best Management Practices (BMP) contained in this document is to assist ships to avoid, deter or delay piracy attacks in the High Risk Area, as defined in section 2 (see Page 4). Experience and data collected by Naval/Military forces, shows that the application of the recommendations contained within this booklet can and will make a significant difference in preventing a ship becoming a victim of piracy.

1.2 The potential consequences of not following BMP, as set out in this document, are severe. There have been instances of pirates subjecting their hostages to violence and other ill treatment. The average length of a hijacking of vessel and her crew is over 7 months. (Note Naval/Military forces often refer to a ‘pirated’ vessel rather than a ‘hijacked’ vessel, but the meaning is the same).

1.3 For the purposes of the BMP the term ‘piracy’ includes all acts of violence against ships, her crew and cargo. This includes
armed robbery and attempts to board and take control of the ship, wherever this may take place. Somali pirates have, to date, sought to hijack a vessel, her cargo and crew and hold them until a ransom demand is paid.

1.4 Where possible, this document should be read with reference to the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (, and the NATO Shipping Centre, (, websites which provide additional regularly updated advice (including up to date alerts on piracy attacks).

1.5 Not all Ship Protection Measures discussed in BMP5 may be applicable to every ship type.

1.6 This BMP5 booklet updates the guidance contained within the 3rd edition of the Best Management Practice document published in June 2010.

1.7 This document complements piracy guidance provided in the latest IMO MSC Circulars, see the IMO website at