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As piracy at sea remains one of the main security issues for shipping industry, the existing policies and procedures, are updated continuously in order to provide a safe & secure working environment for crew on board. Recently the revised BMP-5 (Best Management Practices) led the way of revised guidance due to differences to areas of interest and used methods of piracy attacks. Additionally OCIMF issued (July 2018) the Guidelines to Harden Vessels. The approved Ship Security Plan is the main guidance for each vessel to follow, however additional guidance may be provided for specific situations.

Hardening the vessel

Both BMP-5 and OCIMF guidance describe Ship Protection Measures during different layers of defense. Summing up the guidance provided we can categorize the Ship Protection measures to two major categories. All Ship protective measures should address the identified risks of the risk assessment which Company should perform prior transiting relevant areas.

Operational Measures

These measures do not include equipment or material use. They include procedures development and best practice implementation. Some of these measures are:

  • Maneuvering plan
  • Watchkeeping procedures
  • AIS Policy
  • Lighting Policy
  • Communication Plan
  • Evacuation Plan
  • Use of arm guards etc

The above measures are applicable to respond during the first stages/layers of defense

Equipment Related Measures

The second category is the equipment related measures. These measures require the existence of specific equipment on board in order to address the identified risks which are related with access onboard for intruders (both in port and at sea). Furthermore they include the citadel requirements for final stage/layer of defense. Examples of Equipment related measures are:

  • Razor wire
  • Padlocks
  • Stairwell grille
  • Fire hose deployment
  • Firing Positions (in case of armed guards use)
  • Night vision
  • CCTV

Hidden Communication systems etc.

The above measures are applicable to middle or final stages/layers of defense.

Actions required

Shipowners and managers should provide their vessels with approved Ship Security Plan in order to address piracy items and anti-piracy measures, in conjunction with other specific guidance regarding Ship Protection Measures.

OCIMF has set the requirement for Hardening Plan in revised VIQ-7 as below:

VIQ 7.8 Does the Passage Plan include security related information for each leg of the voyage?

  • Points where the vessel should be hardened

VIQ 7.10 Does the vessel have procedures for vessel hardening?

A ship specific Hardening Plan should be developed in accordance with OCIMF and BMP-5 guidance and provided onboard vessels. The plan should include equipment list related to Ship Protection measures and drawings with hardening positions and points.

CSO is responsible for the development of the plan and SSO is the one who has the responsibility to implement it on board.

Additional security training should be provided to crews in respect of equipment use, hardening points and specific ship protection measures as per Hardening Plan.

See also our related products

SQEMARINE in order to address the above requirement, has developed a custom tailored Hardening Plan in accordance with Company’s procedures and related vessel’s equipment.