Section 3: Threat And Risk Assessment

Threat assessment

The threat assessment must include all regional security threats.

As part of every ship risk assessment prior to transit through the HRA the latest military threat advice must be obtained from UKMTO and threat assessments from MSCHOA (see annex A).

A threat is formed of capability, intent and opportunity.

Capability means attackers have the physical means to conduct an attack. Intent is demonstrated by continued attacks. Opportunity is what is mitigated by the company, ship and crew through application of the measures described in this guidance. In addition to the information provided in this guidance, supplementary information about the characteristics of the threat, specific
or new tactics, and regional background factors may be sought from regional reporting centres and organisations as listed in annex A.

If one side of the triangle is removed, then risk is minimised. The company/ Master cannot influence either capability or intent, therefore BMP measures focus on minimising the opportunity.

Risk assessment

Risk assessment is an integral part of voyage planning within a safety management system. The risk assessment should identify measures for prevention, mitigation and recovery, which will mean combining statutory regulations with supplementary measures. Companies should also take account of these measures for ships transiting the VRA even if they do not enter the HRA.

Further guidance on risk assessments can be found in the Global Counter Piracy Guidance at

The risk assessment must consider but may not be limited to:

  • Requirements of the Flag State, company, charterers and insurers.
  • The threat assessment and geographical areas of increased risk.
  • Background factors shaping the situation, e.g. traffic patterns and local patterns of life, including fishing vessel activity.
  • Cooperation with military. An understanding of presence should be obtained from UKMTO.
  • The embarkation of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP).
  • The ship’s characteristics, vulnerabilities and inherent capabilities, including citadel and/or safe muster points to withstand the threat (freeboard, speed, general arrangement, etc.).
  • The ship’s and company’s procedures (drills, watch rosters, chain of command, decision making processes, etc.).

All voyages in this region require thorough advanced planning using all available information. The maritime threats are dynamic, and it is therefore essential that a detailed threat and risk assessment is completed for each voyage and activity within the region.