Right on, and this is great news that countries are now starting to wake up about this stuff. I also think that this move to put armed guards on boats and backing that up with legal authority to do so, is actually helping to fuel the opinio juris of the world body that armed security is a good idea on these boats. If Italy or Norway thinks it’s a good idea, then other countries might be more inclined to do the same thing. I have also seen this change in attitude with places like the UN, Germany and the UK.
Now will armed guards on boats, eventually lead to states granting Letters of Marque? Who knows, but as armed guards on boats present certain unavoidable situations (like taking prisoners after sinking a pirate boat, killing pirates, killing innocents, clashes with other navies or armed guards, etc.) then further legislation might lead countries to just go back to the tried and true license called the LoM. In other words, if the sum of all of the laws created over time add up to being just a basic LoM, then why not just implement the LoM?
The Declaration of Paris (DoP) is old and outdated, and as we put more private armed guards on boats and states continue to pass laws allowing for such things, then why hold to the DoP? Especially as pirates continue to flourish, and navies continue to fail at stopping this virus. Stuff to think about, and bravo to Italy and Norway for doing the right thing. -Matt
National regulations on the use of armed guards
July 22, 2011
The Italian Decree no. 107, dated 12 July 2011, (Italian only) states the general principles of the deployment of military forces or private security guards onboard Italian Ships.
On 29 June 2011, the Norwegian Government announced a new framework on the use of armed guards by amendments to Regulation 972/2004 on ship security and amendments to Regulation 904/2009 relative to arms. The changes came into force on 1 July 2011.
The new framework follows the IMO guidelines, and allows Norwegian owners to have armed guards onboard in a certain geographical area within the legal limits laid down. An owner wanting to place armed guards onboard must apply for authorization with Norwegian Police Authorities and provide necessary documentation to the Norwegian Maritime Directory. However, the owner is required to conduct an independent risk evaluation to prove the need for armed guards. In addition the owner must be able to show the Security Company’s documentation on procedures for training, qualification and storage and use of weapon.
The simultaneously issued Provisional Guidelines the use of armed guards offer practical guidance on the interpretation of the new framework.
The minister of Trade and Industry states in a press release (Norwegian only) that the amendments do not imply an encouragement to have armed guards onboard Norwegians ships. The purpose is to control the selection and use of security companies to ensure the safety of Norwegian ships and their crew. He emphasizes that all other efforts to protect the ship and its crew must first be fulfilled before armed guards are used.
Link to post here.