Change of Heart
With the change in attitude towards armed guards it seems that seafarers’ union Nautilus International has been prompted to drop its opposition to their deployment.
In the past the union has been very “anti-arming”, but given the clear message that armed guards are actually working, then they have been altered their stance if there is no other option to protect vessels.
Nautilus is now accepting that if agreed with the union on a case-by-case basis and providing the guards being used are properly trained and approved then their use can be a significant deterrent.
As the battle against pirates is clearly not being won, despite the naval presence it is clear that new answers are needed – and with the union coming under increasing pressure from members to accept the use of armed guards, then this change of approach is perhaps understandable and inevitable.
The next step for the union will no doubt be the issue of what constitutes, “properly trained and authorised” armed personnel – and of the need for guidelines for conduct in managing the new relationship between vessel command team and security contingent.