The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported 162 actual and attempted pirate attacks in 2019 on a global scale. African waters continue to be a high-risk area. Whilst attacks in the Gulf of Aden have been on a steady decline over the last few years, the Gulf of Guinea on the African west coast remains a dangerous region.

The pirates in the Gulf of Guinea are reported to be well armed and violent. It is common that the crew is kidnapped for ransom, robbed, or the cargo is stolen. Bulk carriers and tankers, especially if drifting or at anchor, are shown to be vulnerable and frequent targets for attacks.

Maritime Global Security

BIMCO, ICS, INTERCARGO, InterManager, International Group of P&I Clubs, INTERTANKO and OCIMF in a joint effort have developed a website dedicated to providing the maritime industry with security information.

In addition to piracy, the website contains information about cyber security, migration, stowaways, smuggling, armed conflicts and war. The content is freely available and aimed at assisting vessel operators and crew trading in high-risk areas.

Please see www.maritimeglobalsecurity.org for further information.

Guidance documents

In cooperation with other industry players, the associations behind Maritime Global Security have developed guidance documents covering piracy:

  • BMP West Africa - Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security off the Coast of West Africa including the Gulf of Guinea
  • BMP5 - Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea
  • Global Counter Piracy Guidance for Companies, Masters and Seafarers
  • Regional guide to counter piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia

See links below.

These publications aim to assist masters and crew in planning voyages in waters exposed to the threat of piracy. They include practice on how to detect, avoid and delay attacks.

We strongly recommend all members trading in areas plagued with piracy to adhere to these guidance documents.


All incidents and suspicious sightings should be reported to local Authorities, the flag state and to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (link below) as per IMO Circ. 1334.


Case Study

Awaiting berth »




BMP West Africa » (April 2020)

Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy 5 » (June 2018)

Global Counter Piracy Guidance for Companies, Masters and Seafarers

Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia 

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