Using armed private guards or soldiers for protection
Italy stepped up its measures against piracy, clearing commercial ships sailing through dangerous waters to use armed private guards or soldiers for protection.
The ministry of defence was authorised to “agree with private shipowners means of protecting ships flying the Italian flag,” the government’s official gazette said.
“Soldiers or private security guards will be embarked on request and at shipowners’ cost,” it said.
The measures were intended for “international maritime areas where there is a risk of piracy,” it added.
Pirates have seized several Italian boats over the last few years.
On April 21 pirates captured an Italian cargo ship headed for Iran with 21 crew members on board, including six Italians, in the Arabian Sea near Oman.
In February, pirates wielding rocket-launchers seized a large Italian oil tanker with a crew of five Italians and 17 Indians east of the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean.
After that attack, Italy’s shipowners association Confitarma, called for ships to have armed guards aboard.
The use of barbed wire or water cannons was “no longer enough” against “aggressive and dangerous” pirates, they argued.