Floating armoury changes
News will impact PMSCs operating in the Indian Ocean.
Floating Armouries – Major Legal Change Underway
The debate of the legality surrounding “floating armouries” (FA’s) has been circulated since the concept of the first floating armoury was conceived and since it became an integral part of every maritime security companies’ ability to provide armed guards covering the high risk area of Red Sea and Indian Ocean.
The debate has much evolved around which flag states actually allow FA’s and which armouries comply and which do not. We are about to see some major change in the licencing by one of the governments who has been a main supplier of weapons to the industry, Malta.
Malta, has since the early days of Maritime security, been the main provider of arms to the industry and it is estimated that over 60% of the weapons currently used by Maritime Security companies originate from Malta. This also means that many of the “End User Certificates” (EUC’s) are also issued by the Maltese authorities.
An EUC’s is one of the primary documents that ship owners and managers check when deciding to book service from a maritime security company. The EUC must be valid and belong to the security company they contract for the job.
The Maltese authorities have now changed their stance on Floating Armouries and have added a line of text to the EUC’s issued by them stating “Weapons/ammunition cannot be loaded on any floating armoury”.
A fair guess is that the government of Djibouti, who are also one of the largest issuers of EUC’s for the industry, will follow suit and only allow land based transfers or to floating armouries they control.
With over 80% of the transits that maritime security companies undertake either starting or ending on a floating armoury, this is a major change in operations or at least administration for security companies. It is also a major change for the different floating armoury operators in the region as most will find that their operation no longer comply with the terms under which the EUC’s are issued under. It will be very interesting to see if Sri Lanka and Malaysia also change their regulations in the near future.