One of the factors that primarily determines whether a ship is attacked by pirates has proven to be the ship's physical characteristics. This means, inter alia, freeboard and speed combined with the visible use of a number of measures. In the endeavours to increase the protection of ships, it has therefore been important to involve the shipowners who have themselves assumed the responsibility for the safety of the ships through the use of counter-piracy measures.
Merchant ships navigating areas presenting a risk of piracy and armed robbery must, thus, have special procedures today for protection against piracy and armed robbery.
Danish merchant ships must, to the widest extent possible, observe the IMO recommendations and guidelines for preventing piracy. In this connection, especially the international recommendations for measures to be taken in piracy-infested areas – the so-called Best Management Practices (BMP) – constitute a core element.
Please observe that Danish merchant ships' procedures for voyages or port calls in areas presenting a risk of piracy and armed robbery must have been drawn up in consideration of these IMO recommendations and guidelines.
Technical regulation on measures to be taken to prevent piracy and armed robbery on board Danish ships issued by the Danish Maritime Authority
IMO recommendations and guidelines for preventing piracy
The Danish regulations also focus on seafarer protection. Today, the act on seafarers' conditions of employment, etc. contains provisions giving seafarers and their relatives improved security in piracy situations and tightening the shipowners' obligations as regards the prevention, preparedness for and handling of acts of piracy. The regulations stipulate, inter alia, that a shipowner cannot give a seafarer held hostage in connection with piracy notice of termination and that shipowners are obliged to pay wages to seafarers throughout the hostage period as well as a maintenance contribution to the seafarers' closest relative(s).
The international contact group on piracy off the coast of Somalia has approved guidelines on the welfare of seafarers and their families in case of Somali-based piracy. There are also special recommendations for yachtsmen, just as the European Commission has drawn up a recommendation on protective measures and precautions to be taken to prevent piracy and armed robbery against ships.
Guidelines on the welfare of seafarers and their families in case of Somali-based piracy
Recommendations for yachtsmen from the International Sailing Federation (ISAF)
EU Commission recommendation on protective measures and precautions to be taken to prevent piracy and armed robbery against ships