Thursday, March 22, 2012

Somali Pirates: "Piracy fighters use floating armories"

As noted in my chapter, "Legal Considerations for Private Naval Company Armed Anti-Piracy Escorts," in the new book Maritime Private Security: Market responses to piracy, terrorism and waterborne security risks in the 21st century, one of many challenges facing maritime private security companies is the restrictions placed on weapon transportation and the dangers a variety of laws pose to the armed teams.

One way around these laws is to keep the weapons at sea. This logical step is now being taken - as the AP reports: "Piracy fighters use floating armories":
Private security firms are storing their guns aboard floating armories in international waters so ships that want armed anti-piracy guards for East Africa's pirate-infested waters can cut costs and circumvent laws limiting the import and export of weapons, industry officials say.

Companies and legal experts say the operation of the armories is a "legal gray area" because few, if any, governments have laws governing the practice. Some security companies have simply not informed the governments of the flag their ship is flying, industry officials said.
Storing guns on boats offshore really took off as a business last year. Britain — where many of the operators are from — is investigating the legality of the practice, which has received little publicity outside of shipping industry circles.
There has been a discussion of what to do with weapons here for some time.

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