Piracy has become a serious threat to shipping across large parts of the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. In the first nine months of 2011, 346 attacks on vessels had been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, while 277 hostages and 15 vessels were held captive by Somalian pirates in October 2011.
Accordingly, there have been a number of international responses to the threat of piracy. Firstly, in high risk areas, naval forces such as EU and NATO forces, are present to deter and protect vessels from acts of piracy. Secondly, shipowners are advised to implement protective measures on vessels and to follow the recommendations in the latest version of the Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy (BMP4). This briefing describes the above protection measures in detail and outlines the legal and practical issues involved.
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