ITF Wants Flag State Forces Onboard To Deter Pirates

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Nov 102011

ITF wants flag state forces to tackle piracy

Private armed security guards should only supplement not replace state armed forces and flag states should place teams onboard to deter pirates,says the International Transport Workers’ Federation, ITF.

In the statement the ITF quotes general secretary David Cockroft: “Somali-based piracy has been allowed to become so successful, savage and wide-ranging that seafarers’ and seafaring organisations’ worries about armed guards have had to be set aside. However, guards can never be anything but a supplement to the sorely-tried existing naval presence, which is now trying to cover an entire ocean.

“The ITF, like the International Shipping Federation and International Chamber of Shipping, would like to see on-vessel detachments made up of the ship’s flag state forces whenever possible.”

He continued:  “Sadly no move is without risks. Pirate gangs are making fortunes out of their crimes. It is easy for them to reach for heavier and heavier weapons and turn to obscene levels of violence to counter defensive measures.”
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Masters At Risk Of Arrest With Guards’ Arms

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Feb 212011

SAP takes aim at masters?

Masters risk arrest in South African ports if disembarking srmed guards leave their weapons aboard, warns Gard Norway, following the arrest of two. South Africa has strict rules regarding guns and masters and shipowners should be aware of them.

Says Gard: “Due to the upsurge in piracy activity in the Indian Ocean, there has been a large increase in the number of merchant vessels carrying security guards, guns and ammunition. Often, the security guards disembark the vessel after the vessel has transited the “hotspot” area off East Africa but the guns remain on board, only to be removed at final destination.
The issue of guns and ammunition remaining on board vessels is creating problems for owners and recently two masters were arrested in South Africa and charged under the South African Firearm Control Act. The situation is not new and has already been addressed by Gard both in the form of a Gard alert1 and a Gard News article2.
Gard’s correspondent in Durban SA, P&I Associates, has prepared this overview of requirements related to armaments on merchant vessels. Continue reading »