Nautilus is seeking more talks with the UK government re armed guards onboard
Nautilus is seeking more talks with the UK government following the Prime Minister’s announcement that the use of armed guards is to be permitted on British ships.
Guidance published by the government today (Tuesday 6 December) covers the factors ship owners should include in a risk assessment and advice on selecting a private security company, as well as the process for gaining authorisation for the carriage of armed guards.
The Union has given a cautious welcome to the announcement – welcoming the recognition that seafarers deserve greater protection against piracy, but expressing concern at some of the implications arising from the use of firearms on merchant ships.
General secretary Mark Dickinson commented: ‘While we are pleased that the UK has legalised the use of armed guards, we do not believe this in any way reduces the necessity for a strong naval force in the area.
‘We also believe it is essential that action is taken to ensure that private security teams used at sea are properly vetted and accredited, and that their training, experience and competence are at acceptable levels.
‘It is also of critical importance that clear procedures are in place to govern the type of weapons that may be carried and the circumstances in which they may be used – including the command and control structures and the potential liabilities arising from their use.
‘Arming ships should be seen as an exceptional response to exceptional circumstances, and we do not want to see it become institutionalised,’ Mr Dickinson said. ‘It is therefore essential that we have further discussions with government over a much wider package of measures to provide long-term and effective action against piracy and improvements to maritime security.
Source: Nautilus International