MariTrace suggests Suez BMP plan
Recent incidents prompts warning.
Increased threat to shipping in Suez Canal
MariTrace is recommending an immediate increase in security precautions for vessels operating in and
around the Suez Canal area. The inauguration of the opening of a new shipping route of the Suez Canal
project will take place on August 6th 2015. Local security forces are on high alert.
Earlier this month Egyptian security forces arrested 13 Muslim Brotherhood members suspected of
installing explosives on beaches adjoining the canal, in sanitation facilities, and electrical facilities along
the 120-mile-long route.
On 16th July 2015 the Islamic State’s Sinai branch (Wilayat al-Sina) claimed credit for attacking an Egyptian
naval craft off the Sinai coast, fewer than 100 nautical miles from Port Said.
As of 21st April 2015, the Isle of Man ship registry has advised their members of an increase in ISPS Security
Level for the Suez Canal to Level 2. Security Level 2 means the level for which appropriate additional
protective measures shall be maintained for a period of time as a result of heightened risk of a security
incident. The rise in security level indicates that an unlawful act against a vessel or terminal is possible,
and intelligence indicates that terrorists are likely to be active within a specific area, or against a type of
vessel or terminal.
Terrorists planning to carry out a successful attack will, of course, have to contend with the increased
security in the area. However, in spite of the increased difficulty to carry out an attack in the area, a
successful strike, especially against Western interests, would guarantee valuable international exposure
for the perpetrator.
For this reason, MariTrace highly recommends that vessels transiting the area review security plans to
ensure security posture is appropriate to the threat. Vessels such as oil tankers, LNG carriers and bulk
carriers transporting hazardous goods should be considered the most vulnerable vessels.
Access to a range of multi-source intelligence warnings are critical and will ensure that ship owners are
able to escalate security postures and implement contingency plans, should the threat change. Pre
transit assessments should be completed, and local trends and security dynamics continually monitored.
Prior to transit, information security is paramount, and where practical data on vessel movement should
be kept confidential and given to as few sources as is absolutely necessary. Shore-side interaction should
The highest state of passive security should be applied through the Canal, where the ship is in a state of
lockdown and crew movement outside of the vessel is kept to a minimum. Additional lookouts should
be posted in secure locations, with the objective of identifying threats as soon as possible for the vessel
to implement mitigation strategies.