On 14 October 2010, EU NAVFOR Operational Headquarters (Northwood, UK) welcomed maritime industry representatives to provide them with an update on the current piracy threat in the Horn of Africa.
A variety of topics were covered throughout the meeting, but of particular note were the possible ways to improve the military support to merchant vessels and the challenges for masters of vessels transiting the area.
“The pirates’ business model has not evolved: they simply look for easy targets, that is to say low freeboard and slow vessels. If this kind of vulnerable vessel is moreover not applying the Best Management Practices, it is even better for pirates”, explained an intelligence expert of EU NAVFOR Operational Headquarters.
The purpose of the Best Management Practices (BMPs) is to assist ships to avoid, deter or delay piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia, including the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Experience, supported by data collected by Naval Forces, shows that the application of the recommendations contained within this booklet can, and will, make a significant difference in preventing a ship becoming a victim of piracy.
“The fact is that there will never be enough warships to blanket cover this huge area. In the Indian Ocean, you should consider self-defense as your only defense,” said Simon Church, Merchant Navy Liaison Officer of EU NAVFOR Operational Headquarters. “You have to prepare and train your crew before they transit this highly dangerous area.”
EU NAVFOR considers it as a priority to maintain regular briefs and frank exchanges of views with the maritime Industry. On 26 August 2010 was organized the 6th Industry Workshop at EU NAVFOR’s headquarters, during which the industry representatives were reminded they were EU NAVFOR’s key partners.