Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Waters off the coast of Somalia - Guidelines to Shipping in accordance with IMO Resolution A.979(24) adopted on 23rd November, 2005.


No.35-NT(2)/2005                                                                                                  Dated :8th Jan-2007

Subject : Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Waters off the coast of Somalia - Guidelines to Shipping in accordance with IMO Resolution A.979(24) adopted on 23rd November, 2005.

The Directorate is aware of the serious safety and security concerns of the shipping fraternity and seafaring community resulting from attacks against ships navigating in waters off the Somalian coast.

In this regard, attention is drawn to NT BRANCH CIRCULAR NOs.: NT/PIRACY/ 01/ 2006 dated 27th

April 2006 and 1A of 2006- Piracy dated 24th April 2006. The risk of Piracy/ armed robbery against ships in or around piracy prone zones can be minimized if certain additional precautions and due diligence are exercised by the Shipowners, Masters and Ship Managers, as listed below but not limited to:

In addition to hijacking and theft of cargo, the main targets of pirates appear to be cash, crew possessions and ship's portable equipment. Shipowners therefore should consider ways of avoiding the need to carry large sums of cash on board.

Masters are advised to conduct a thorough check of the ship's compartments prior to departure. Owners, operators and Masters of all Indian ships are advised to keep a safe distance of at least 200 nautical miles off from the coast of Somalia.

Masters should exercise due caution when transmitting information on the vessel's itinerary, cargo etc.by radio as the same may be monitored by attackers.

When ashore, crew members should be advised not to discuss the itinerary of the vessel/ cargo particulars with persons not connected with the ship's business.

Masters shall act in accordance with the Ship Security Plan when under attack, or threat of attack when navigating in Somalian waters or in the vicinity. All crew shall be made well aware of established procedures. The Master shall ensure that crew has perfected these procedures as set out in the plan.

Enhanced vigilance/ lookouts and strict access control are very essential.

A constant radio watch shall be maintained in piracy prone areas. Continuous VHF watch shall also be maintained on all distress and safety frequencies, particularly VHF Channel 16/ 70 as well as any other channels or frequencies which may have been determined by local authorities.

All Maritime Safety Information broadcasts shall be monitored for piracy prone areas.

Secure areas shall be established on board (if not highlighted in the Ship Security Plan) which attackers would find difficult to penetrate.

Masters are reminded that safety takes precedence over security and in any situation where there is a conflict between safety and security; safety requirements shall be given first priority.

The Master shall consider the use of distress flares only when he considers the vessel to be in imminent danger under the provisions of SOLAS '74 requirements under Chapter V, COLREG 72.

Effective use of evasive manoeuvring may be considered by Masters taking into account the proximity of navigational hazards and the vessel's draft in relation to the available depth of water, traffic density and other identified limitations of the vessel.

Masters may also utilize high pressure water jets to deter and repulse attackers, taking into account the prevailing circumstances stated in 12 above.

Make use of lighting, surveillance and detection equipment for early warning and take evasive action accordingly.

Follow radio alarm procedures as set out in the GMDSS manual.

Avoid the assembly of crew/ passengers on exposed portions of the vessel due to risk of life in the event of an armed attack.

Early detection of suspected attacks is the first line of defence. Hence the need for enhanced vigilance and surveillance cannot be over emphasized.

Report all incidents/ attempts of piracy and armed robbery to the nearest Coastal States and the nearest Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC)

In addition, report all incidents/ attempts of piracy and armed robbery to the DG COMMCENTRE at the following contacts:

Telephone : 00 91 22 22610606/ 22614646/ 32959320

Fax: 00 91 22 22613636

E-mail: dgcommcentre@satyammail.net

If it is known that the vessel will have to anchor off port for some time in areas where attacks are known to have taken place, Masters should consider delaying anchoring by slow steaming/ longer routeing to minimize the risk period.

Masters of all Indian vessels and foreign flag vessels with Indian crew, prior to entering Somalian waters/ in the vicinity of Somalian waters are advised to communicate the following information to the DG Commcentre without delay:

Name, Call-sign, Flag and IMO no.

Owner's full style.

P & I Club full style.

Crew list with nationality of individuals.

Crew list with nationality of individuals.

Last port of call with departure date.

Next port of call with ETA.

Full style of agents at next port of call.

Ship Manager's and recruiting agent's full style in India

Cargo type and quantity.

This information would be invaluable for the speedy resolution of hijacking incidents.

All Indian Ship owners/ managers and manning agents of vessels with Indian crew are advised to convey the information in item 21 above to the DG Commcentre without delay in the event of all incidents/ attempts of piracy and armed robbery on the Somalian coast.

All Masters/ Ship Owners/ Managers are urged to adhere to these guidelines.


(Capt. Rakesh Awasthi)

Nautical Surveyor to the Govt. of India-cum-

Dy. Director General (Technical)

Go Top