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Loitering Munitions – The Threat to Merchant Ships

The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) has published a useful Information Paper entitled  Loitering Munitions – The Threat to Merchant Ships. It is about drones being used for illegitimate purposes against shipping.

As is noted by OCIMF, drones have been used as loitering munitions (LM) to attack merchant ships. This is a specific type of drone with a built-in weapon and some with the capability to loiter in an area until their target is located. The global proliferation of these rapidly advancing technologies poses a new and rising security risk to merchant shipping. Although these attacks have been focussed in the Middle East region, their use elsewhere cannot be discounted.

This information paper covers:

  • The threat posed by LM such as the Shahed-136, which has been used against commercial vessels. 
  • Operational characteristics and trends related to the employment of these systems, and the technical characteristics of LM. 
  • Considerations, including guidance for best practices.

The Information Paper can be found here:

IMCA Contact

Nicholas Hough
Consultant - Safety and Security

Information Note Details

Published date: 5 September 2023
Information note ID: 1646


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