Canada: Armed Guards On Ships To Fight Pirates

Guidance from the IMO on how to hire guards to protect a ship from pirates.

Piracy has become ever more of a scourge to contemporary maritime trade, especially in the "High Risk Area" off Somalia. In the first six months of 2011, pirates attacked 266 vessels (163 of them near Somalia), resulting in the taking of 495 seamen as hostages and the payment of untold sums of ransom. Understandably, shipowners have had their fill of such calamities and are casting about for solutions. One option is to hire armed security guards to protect their ships when transiting pirate-infested waters. This practice, although not endorsed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), was addressed at the 89th session of its Maritime Safety Committee, held in London from May 11 to 20 last. The Committee approved and the Council authorized the convening of an intersessional meeting of the Maritime Security and Piracy Working Group (September 13 to 15, 2011) to update the guidance. The result is a document, entitled 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 (September 16, 2011). See link here.

The Maritime Safety Committee stresses in this document that hiring "privately contracted armed security personnel" (PCASP) working for "private maritime security companies" (PMSC's) must not be considered as an alternative to following the "Best Management Practices" developed by the industry to combat piracy in the waters concerned. Moreover, such hiring should occur only after the shipowner has conducted a comprehensive risk assessment and has observed port state, flag state and coastal state laws governing the carriage and use of firearms.

A PMSC should be selected by using "the usual due diligence". Factors to be evaluated include the company's structure and place of registration; its ownership and financial position; the extent of its insurance cover (especially applying to third-party risks); its senior management experience and any quality management indicators such as ISO accreditation. The PMSC should be able to produce documents attesting to its maritime experience, its management procedures, and its understanding of flag state, port state and coastal state requirements regarding the carriage and use of firearms. It should be able to produce written references from previous clients and evidence that firearms are procured, transported, embarked and disembarked legally. The company should show that it understands the Somalia-based piracy threat and the Best Management Practices and that it has access to legal advice seven days a week at all hours.

As regards the all-important matter of selecting the armed personnel, the Revised Interim Guidance recommends that PMSCs be able to provide documentary evidence as to the onboard teams of PCASP, including evidence as to background checks by the PMSC into criminal, past employment and (where applicable) military and law enforcement records of those employees. Documentary evidence should be available, including personnel records of the employees' medical, physical and mental fitness, and the system established to ensure their continued suitability for employment, as well evidence of their relevant experience and certification in using and carrying firearms to be deployed.

Shipowners should verify that PMSCs have adequate training procedures in place for the PCASP. PMSCs should be able to provide comprehensive and detailed records of their employees' initial training and refresher courses, their shipboard familiarization training, their training in the use of force according to flag state principles and their knowledge of the operation of specific firearms and other security equipment to be used on the vessels concerned. Documentary evidence as to the giving of medical training, up to a recognized international standard, should also be available. Training or briefings of the PCASP on vessel types and trading places and on the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, the International Safety Management (ISM) Code and the Best Management Practices may also have to be documented.

The Revised Interim Guidance further recommends that shipowners verify that PMSCs have insurance coverage for themselves, their personnel and third-party liability and that the terms of engagement do not prejudice (actually or potentially) the owners' own coverage. Owners should consult with their underwriters to assess the potential impact on their insurance coverage, particularly as it relates to armed engagements and the PMSCs' liability insurance. PMSCs should provide evidence that they hold and will maintain for the duration of the contract: 1) public and employers' liability insurance cover to an appropriate level and as required by the shipowner; and 2) personal accident, medical expenses, hospitalization and repatriation insurance. PMSCs should insure their own personnel against liability claims arising from the carriage and use of firearms on the high seas and territorial waters. Owners, charterers and underwriters should review charters and policies in relation to these matters.

The IMO document further stresses the importance of discussing and agreeing to the size, composition and equipment of the proposed PCASP team, considering factors such as the estimated transit time, the latest threat assessment, the team's duties, the size and type of vessel, the crew size limitation set by the ship's safety certificate, the equipment requirements and team leader's qualifications.

Owners and managers thinking of engaging armed guards to protect their ships from pirates should study carefully this Revised Interim Guidance from the IMO before contracting for such services. BLG can assist its clients in this process.

About BLG

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions