Security considerations if diverting around Africa

Mar 28, 2021 - 19:27
Working with ICS, BIMCO, INTERCARGO and OCIMF, the following guidance is issued for information regarding security issues if diverting around Africa.

The ongoing blockage of the Suez Canal has resulted in ships diverting south to transit around the Cape of Good Hope, potentially taking them through the High Risk Area. It is noted that whilst the threat of Somalia-based piracy is currently suppressed through a combination of military operations, application of BMP 5 and the presence of armed guards, an increase in maritime traffic through the area may present opportunities for Somali Pirate Groups to attack shipping. The consequences of not adopting effective security measures can be severe.

Noting this threat, shipping companies are reminded of the importance of applying BMP 5 to ensure that the voyage is fully risk assessed and that ships are hardened against the security threats in the region. Similarly, it is recommended that ships rerouting southwards should route north-east of Socotra before turning South and that where possible, should maintain a safe distance from the Somali coastline in accordance with the risk assessment.

Furthermore, it is stressed that all ships in the region should register with MSCHOA and report to UKMTO as outlined in BMP 5, to ensure they are visible to the military assets deployed in the region which can assist in cases of piracy, and to ensure that they will be alerted to any threats or incidents.

BMP 5 and other relevant best practice guidance can be found at:

The contact details for MSCHOA are:

Tel: 0033 (0) 298 220 220 // 0033 (0) 298 220 170

Fax: 0033 (0) 298 220 171


The contact details for UKMTO are:


Emergency Tel: +44 (0)2392 222060

Emergency Tel: +971 5055 23215

General Enquiries: +44 (0)2392 222065

It should be noted that security threats also exist in the Mozambique Channel, and these should also be factored into the risk assessment.

Consideration should also be given to the piracy threat in the Gulf of Guinea, for ships transiting along the Western African Coast. It is strongly recommended that a threat and risk assessment is conducted for such voyages, and that ships apply BMP West Africa to the fullest extent. It is also strongly recommended that all ships travelling along the west coast of Africa register with MDAT GOG:


Tel: +33 298228888

BMP West Africa can be found at:

[ICS], in cooperation with the other members of the Round Table of Shipping Associations and OCIMF will continue to monitor the situation with respect to the piracy threat, in liaison with EUNAVFOR and CMF, and advise members as appropriate.