Regarding armed guards onboard
The bill to combat piracy in the sea-going ships, adopted at the cabinet meeting yesterday, under Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.
The bill sets out the main lines and procedures for a license to be given in order armed groups to embark on ships and also set outs the rights of seafarers, the use of weapons, bans on Greece and penalties.
According to the bill, authorization for the use of armed guards onboard should be given after request of the ship owner. Guards should have the appropriate certification, to be above 21 years old, to have no convictions and not be crew members.
In case there is no compliance with the necessary requirements, the decision may be revoked by the chief of the Coast Guard and is valid for six and twelve months, with the charges of a special fee and the right for an extension.
The armed group is under the authority of the master, who will have access to arms onboard.
The use of weapons and arms may be prohibited if there is an official decision, mandated by the Headquarters of the Coast Guard – Coast Guard Greek or Greek or any other military authority.
Any crew member does not want to work onboard, he may officially inform the master and has the right to return to his country at the expense of the owner or operator of the ship.
Greek Seamen’s Federation and the Masters’ Associations, have formally expressed disagreement with this bill.