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Drones have been used as loitering munitions (LM) to attack merchant ships. This is a specific type of drone with a built-in weapon and some with the capability to loiter in an area until their target is located. The global proliferation of these rapidly advancing technologies poses a new and rising security risk to merchant shipping. Although these attacks have been focussed in the Middle East region, their use elsewhere cannot be discounted.

This information paper covers: 


  • The threat posed by LM such as the Shahed-136, which has been used against commercial vessels.  
  • Operational characteristics and trends related to the employment of these systems, and the technical characteristics of LM.  
  • Considerations, including guidance for best practices.