A Fine Mess

When IMO secretary-general, Efthimios Mitropoulos stated that more than 60% of ships were ignoring the recommended Best Industry Management Practice (BMP) it made alarm bells ring.

The fact that so often the BMPs are held up as being panacea to our piracy woes is concerning enough, but when we then consider that so few ships are even doing the basics, the we really are in trouble.

As a result of this shocking inaction observers believe the IMO may push to make the guidance mandatory.

All too many organisations and companies believe that their vessels and crews are taking BMPs to heart and are implementing them – the sad reality is that they are not, and at the moment there is no means of punishing the offenders. A “name and shame” process has been called for, but of course this would perhaps assist pirates in targeting future attacks.

We need to explore ways in which sanctions can be imposed to “persuade” owners and crew to make sure the very minmum efforts are made – and that is what BMPs represent. A system of fines has been mooted, whereby any vessel spotted in the high risk area which hasn’t reported in to relevant authorities would be fined – funds generated could then be used to bolster security in the region.

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