Piracy – Best Management Practices Version 4 (BMP4)

Piracy – Best Management Practices Version 4 (BMP4)

By admin | August 09, 2018

The 4th version of the shipping industry's Best Management Practices for Protection against Somali Based Piracy (BMP4) has now been released. As with previous versions, version 4 is endorsed by virtually all industry organisations and by the UKMTO and EU NAVFOR.

Click here for a PDF version of BMP4.


BMP4 uses hard-won experience and knowledge gained since version 3 to update the practical knowledge and guidance it gives to owners and operators. Improvements to the BMP include:

  • A new Executive Summary at the beginning detailing the Three Fundamental Requirements of BMP to:
    1. Register with the MSCHOA.
    2. Report to UKMTO.
    3. Implement the Ship Protection Measures contained in the BMP.
  • An Aide Memoire in diagrammatic format which illustrates how to “Avoid Being a Victim of Piracy”, also included in the new Executive Summary.
  • A copy of the MSCHOA Vessel Movement Registration Form.
  • A new subsection on “Prosecution of Pirates – Assisting Law Enforcement Authorities”, which was produced in conjunction with INTERPOL, is now included. This new section includes reference to a 24-hr helpline and to INTERPOL’s new Maritime Task Force website (
  • New advice on the use of ship protection measures, examples include: additional guidance on the use of citadels, considerations for ballistic protection afforded to the crew who may be required to remain on the bridge during a pirate attack and testing of ship protection measures, including the security of access points and review, during drills and crew briefings is also included.
  • Additional advice for leisure craft including yachts.


It is important to note that the new BMP frequently refers users to the websites of the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa ( and NATO Shipping Centre ( for additional regularly updated advice. A new section in BMP4 on “Armed Private Maritime Security Contractors” includes a reference to IMO guidance reproduced on the MSCHOA and NATO Shipping Centre websites.

The potential consequences of not following BMP are considered to be severe and Gard strongly recommends members and clients to familiarize themselves with and adhere to the guidance and recommendations contained within BMP.