There is updated guidance from the International Maritime Organization on the use of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP). The guidance is a product of the intercessional meeting of the Maritime Security and Piracy Working Group meeting of the Maritime Safety Committee. Amver participants will find this information useful.
- MSC.1/Circ. 1409 on Interim Recommendations for port and coastal States regarding the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in the High Risk Area.
- MSC.1/Circ. 1406/Rev.1 on Revised Interim Recommendations for flag States regarding the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in the High Risk Area.
- MSC.1/Circ. 1405/Rev.1 on Revised Interim Guidance to shipowners, ship operators and shipmasters on the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in the High Risk Area
- a joint MSC and Facilitation Committee (FAL) circular on Questionnaire on information on port and coastal State requirements related to privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships, which is aimed at gathering information on current requirements.
The circulars provide interim guidance and recommendations to be taken into account when considering the use of PCASP if and when a flag State determines that such measure would be lawful and, following a full risk assessment, appropriate.
As stated in the circulars, the interim guidance and recommendations "are not intended to endorse or institutionalize" the use of armed guards. Therefore, they do not represent any fundamental change of policy by the Organization in this regard. It is for each flag State, individually, to decide whether or not PCASP should be authorized for use on board ships flying their flag. If a flag State decides to perm is this practice, it is up to that State to determine the conditions under which authorization will be granted.
The use of PCASP should not be considered as an alternative to Best Management Practices (BMP) and other protective measures. BMP4 has recently been issued by the shipping industry and will shortly be disseminated by IMO (as MSC.1/Circ. 1339).
You can hear more about United States Coast Guard involvement in anti-piracy efforts in this episode of The Quarterdeck podcast.
Photo credit: IMO