Published: 5 July 2018

On 28 June 2018 a revised Best Management Practice guide (“BMP 5”) was jointly released by BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping, the International Group of P&I Clubs, INTERTANKO and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum.  BMP 5 replaces the previous BMP 4 guidance, which was widely used by the shipping industry.

Below is a brief summary of some of the changes:

  • The structure of BMP 5 has changed significantly and some of the guidance previously contained in BMP 4 can now be found in separate documents such as the Global Counter Piracy Guidance for Companies, Master and Seafarers, which is a document that can be used in relation to piracy globally.
  • In addition to piracy, BMP 5 considers other threats including the use of anti-ship missiles, sea mines and Water-Borne Improvised Explosive Devises (WBIED).
  • The risk assessment under section 3 of BMP 5 includes several issues that must be considered by companies. These include the requirements of the Flag State, company, charterer and insurers; an assessment of the threat; co-operation with military resources; the use of armed guards; the characteristics of the ship and the applicable procedures of both the ship and company.
  • Under section 5, where a citadel is used it must be well constructed with reliable communications and be supplied with food, water and sanitation. The use of the citadel must be drilled and the Ship Security Plan must define the conditions and supporting logistics for its use.
  • In relation to the use of Private Maritime Security Companies, BMP 5 provides a list of the issues which should be considered. BMP 5 also recommends that any security companies engaged are accredited to ISO28007-1:2015 and highlights the importance of the Master’s overriding authority.
  • The company should have a policy in place to cover situations where there is a kidnap and ransom of the crew.
  • Under section 7, following a hijacking, BMP 5 recommends INTERPOL be contacted to give advice on the preservation of evidence that could be useful to law enforcement agents.
  • Annex G provides specific guidance to vessels engaged in fishing.

It should be noted that BMP 5 is not a like for like replacement for BMP 4.  Members should therefore carefully consider the content of BMP 5 to determine whether their ships comply with these new requirements and further consider other applicable guidance such as Global Counter Piracy Guidance for Companies, Master and Seafarers.

The release of BMP 5 coincided with the launch of a new website which provides free security related guidance, together with access to best practice guides, including BMP5.  Links are provided to other useful maritime security resources which may assist Members to protect their crews and ships from security threats.  The website brings together several types of security risks to ships including piracy, cyber, migration, stowaways, smuggling and armed conflicts and war.

The piracy focus page has further information and links to BMP5 and Global Counter Piracy Guidance for Companies.