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Reference:

  1. BMP5.
  2. UKHO Security Chart Q6099.
  3. U.S. Maritime Advisory 2020-009 & 011.

There are maritime security risks to vessels transiting the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Straits of Hormuz and the Arabian Gulf.

To ensure the safety of all vessels and allow navies to afford best protection to global trade, it is vital that:

  • CSOs and Masters comply with BMP5.
  • Masters familiarise themselves with BMP5 Section 7 (Ships Under Attack).
  • Masters register with UKMTO when entering the Indian Ocean VRA (Ref A & B).
  • Flag State Guidance is complied with.
  • Masters add ETAs at choke points (BAM/SoH) in Line 10 (Destination & ETA) of their Initial Report to UKMTO (BMP5 Annex D).
  • Any significant changes to Choke Point ETAs should be reflected in Line 6 (Other important Info) of the Daily/Transit Position Report to UKMTO ((BMP5 Annex D).).
  • CSOs ensure all contact numbers for UKMTO and USNAVCENT NCAGS are correct.
  • In the event of any incident or being concerned, Masters should call UKMTO immediately.
  • Masters answer all VHF calls from coalition navies. Ch16 is becoming very busy, alternative channels will be offered.
  • CSOs and Masters prepare, print and have available the correct response if called on VHF.
    • IMSC Bridge Cards to aid VHF response can be found here.

Ships who experience any of the following behavior are encouraged to report the incident to UKMTO using the UKMTO Suspicious/Irregular activity report in BMP 5, Annex D.

  • Any threatening or harassing conduct directed at a merchant vessel.
  • Receiving or experiencing threatening or harassing language on the VHF.
  • Boarding or search of a vessel without a valid legal pretext.
  • Unnecessary manoeuvring in unsafe proximity of a merchant vessel.
  • Intentional close manoeuvring so as to restrict a vessel’s ability to manoeuvre without lawful justification.
  • Aircraft operating at an unsafe altitude that results in the Merchant Vessel feeling threatened.
  • Unprofessional or inappropriate queries – Queries that include asking questions beyond flagged state, port of departure and port of arrival. Including questions relating to:
    • Whether warships or aircraft are operating in the area
    • Asking unnecessarily probing questions about the crew
  • Sighting of suspicious floating objects (Possible Mine or Waterborne  Improvised Explosive Device) in the area.
  • On receiving a distress call from another Merchant vessel operating in the area that reports being harassed or attacked.
  • If experiencing irregularities with GPS.

UKMTO will share information with the navies operating in the region including those joining the International Maritime Security Construct and the European – Led Maritime Awareness in the SoH (EMASOH). Questions regarding information sharing can be directed to UKMTO. Navies operate in the SoH and to offer best protection they need to be aware of all vessel movements and intentions.

Useful BMP Contact details:

UKMTO:

Tel: +44 2392 222060
watchkeepers@ukmto.org

UKMTO/IMSC Merchant Navy Liaison Officer (MNLO)

Tel: +971 56 686 5509
mnlo.dubai@ocimf.org

USNAVCENT NCAGS

24/7 Watch: +973-1785-0084
CUSNC.NCAGS_BW@me.navy.mil

Download additional sources of information:

“This guidance should be posted on the bridge for ease of access to watch officers and covered in watch hand overs.”