Singapore Allows Counter-piracy Private Security Guards

Press Release
Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) issues guidance on use of privately contracted armed personnel on board its ships.

The guidance is line with the revised interim guidance being promulgated by the  International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

In its Shipping Circular No.15 of 2012 dated 18 September 2012, the MPA states that, taking into account the guidance provided by the IMO, there
may be scenarios that ship owners are considering the use of armed guards for ships transiting the piracy High Risk Area due to the increased threat
by Somalia-based pirates.

However, the use of PCASP should not be considered as an alternative to Best Management Practices (BMP) and other protective measures.

Singapore law does not prohibit the use of armed security personnel on board Singapore-registered ships, although the carriage and use of firearms
and ammunition on board Singapore-registered ships is not encouraged given the potential escalation of violence and increased risks of crew injury and fatality. While the crew of a Singapore-registered ship, or their hired armed security personnel may lawfully bear arms, they will still be liable
under Singapore's laws if they use their arms on board the ship without lawful excuse, as a person on board is not exempted from criminal liability in respect of any offence that he commits on the ship.

Whether to use PCASP within the High Risk Area is a decision for the individual ship owner after a thorough risk assessment and after ensuring
all other practical means of self protection have been employed.

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