Armed Private Security Guards: Malta-flag Issues Advisory
Shipping Notice 106 to owners of ships registered in Malta is outlined here as an example of one flag-state's action to control the use of private guards.
The shipping notice advises that all applications to carry Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) shall be accompanied by a Voyage Plan and Crew List for the duration of the stay of the PCASP onboard. When submitting an application for consideration, the shipowner is undertaking that:
i. the Ship Security Plan is developed and updated with the Ship Security Assessment considering that the ship is operating in a HRA;
ii. the provisions of these circulars and shipping notices have been considered and applied: a. MSC.1/Circ.1405/Rev.2; b. MSC.1/Circ.1339; c. Merchant Shipping Notice 71; d. Merchant Shipping Notice 82;
iii. the master of the ship retains overall responsibility for the safety and the security of the ship;
iv. the embarkation of additional personnel is in line with the requirements concerning safety equipment onboard and crew accommodation requirements;
v. all firearms and ammunitions are removed from the vessel when PCASP disembark;
vi. all firearms and ammunitions are not to be deployed from the designated secure keeping in sea areas which are not defined as ‘High Risk Area’;
vii. the national requirements regarding firearms in coastal and port States are complied with;
viii. the PCASP are: a. qualified for providing the service for which they are being engaged; b. qualified in the use of the firearms being taken onboard; c. in possession of certificates for the four elements of basic training, namely: Personal survival techniques (STCW A-VI/1-1); Fire fighting and fire prevention (STCW A-VI/1-2); Elementary first aid (STCW A-VI/1-3); and Personal safety and social responsibility (STCW A-VI/1-4);
ix. any details or documents required shall immediately be made available at the request of the Maltese competent Authority.
The shipping community is reminded that without prejudice to the penalties contemplated in the said regulations, the use of firearms on Maltese ships, without prior authorisation may be considered as being against the interest of Malta and of Maltese shipping and may lead, inter alia, to closure of registry.