Liberian Flag guidelines for protection against armed robbery and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea region

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Liberia flagged vessel

The Republic of Liberia has issued Marine Security Advisory including guidelines for protection against armed robbery and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea region and Reporting to the Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre Gulf Guinea (MTISC - GoG)

In response to incidents of armed robbery and piracy attacks that have occurred in and around the Gulf of Guinea, the Liberian Administration has revised the setting of MANDATORY SECURITY LEVEL EQUIVALENT TO LEVEL II for all Liberian flagged vessels when operating in or transiting the Gulf of Guinea and adjacent waters, effective immediately.

Mandatory Security Level equivalent to Level II shall be set when operating in or transiting West African waters. Security Level equivalent to Level II is required to ensure higher vigilance and tighter controls to protect against possible acts of piracy, illegal boarding and stowaways.

Reporting to Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre for the Gulf of Guinea (MTISC- GoG)

The recently established MTISC-GoG is the first regional maritime information sharing center within the Gulf of Guinea. The Center is fully engaged with regional States and supported by international partners and maritime industry stakeholders. The Liberian Maritime Authority is strong supporter and has seconded watch standers to the Center.

Shipowners/Operators/Masters of Liberian flagged vessels are strongly encouraged to participate in the MTISC Voluntary Reporting Scheme to improve regional domain awareness and information sharing and allow relevant authorities to be informed of an incident in a timely manner.Masters of vessels are advised to provide an "Initial Report" to MTISC-GoG when entering the affected area defined above or leaving a port within this area and report daily while operating within the established area; and to submit a final report when leaving the defined area. Report formats are attached.

The Center will provide advice and guidance on the maritime security situation and on mitigating the risk of armed robbery or other unlawful activities. Through 24-hour manned monitoring of reporting vessels, the MTISC-GoG will share updates and guidance on security risks and incidents with the shipping industry and merchant vessels directly. In the event of a security incident MTISC-GoG will be able to warn vessels in the vicinity either directly by using a satellite telephone or making use of Nav Warnings.

MITSC-GoG will be able to liaise directly with the affected vessel's Master and provide guidance. MTISC-GoG will have no operational control of naval vessels, but can provide information to National maritime operational centers in the region.

In addition, the Administration strongly recommends owners, operators and Master's ensure full consideration is given to interim Guidelines developed by BIMCO, ICS, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO, and supported by the NATO Shipping Centre. Although piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is different from Somali piracy, large sections of the current Best Management Practices will also be applicable to the pirate attacks on vessels operating in the Gulf of Guinea.

The interim Guidelines aim to bridge the gap between the advice found in BMP4 and the prevailing situation in the Gulf of Guinea. Consequently, the Interim Gulf of Guinea guidelines should be read in conjunction with BMP4 as they will make reference to BMP4 when relevant.

Prior to a vessel entering the affected area, CSO's should review the Ship Security Assessment (SSA) and ensure full consideration is given to the interim Guidelines in conjunction with BMP4, in accordance with the Administrations guidelines.

Further information may be found by reading LISCR Marine Security Advisory 05/2014

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