With shipowners increasingly employing armed guards, there have been calls for greater transparency about their use.
Serious concerns have been voiced over the presence of guards leading to an escalation of violence or an incident where an unarmed civilian or seafarer is injured.
Speaking to Lloyd’s List, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) seafarers’ section secretary Jon Whitlow said many crew members were welcoming armed security as they felt more secure in their presence, but there was an industry-wide belief that crews themselves should never be armed.
The increasing reliance on private security has led a number of countries, particularly in Europe, to hastily write rules, or clarify existing laws for their engagement.
Speaking on the issue of security concerns, Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) co-founder, Peter Cook believes that the threats to Owners and charterers of vessels, the flag states and the insurance industry mean they are all in a position where they can be vulnerable when attacks take place. He has been pleased with the support the various side of the shipping industry have provided in developing a formal and robust vetting regime for security on board vessels.