With the assistance of its members, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) in association with the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), has compiled a useful reference document collating the policy and rules of Flag States on the carriage of arms and private armed guards on board vessels.
The document, providing tabulated information on Flag States’ rules, has been added to the ICS website and is proving to be a popular reference tool for shipowners and other interested parties within the shipping community.
Kiran Khosla, ICS Director of Legal Affairs and secretary of the ICS’ maritime law and insurance committees, says: “When the information is compiled together like this it is interesting to see the similarities and variations in approach throughout the international community. Piracy remains a major cause for concern among shipowners and the wider shipping industry and we are not surprised that members are keen to ensure they are up to speed with the latest recommendations and advice.
“The consensus view among ICS national shipowner associations remains that private armed guards are a clear second best to military personnel. However, in view of the current crisis, ICS has had to acknowledge that the decision to engage armed guards, whether military or private, is a decision to be made by the ship operator after due consideration of all the risks and subject to the approval of the vesselʹs Flag State and insurer,” she said.
The ICS points out that this information is for general guidance only and is not a substitute for proper verification with the Flag States concerned. The ICS welcomes further information from Flag States to update their listing or to
be added to the list.