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BIMCO - Security firms’ weapons sharing could put owners in a legal fix

Shipping companies are in danger of prejudicing their insurance cover as documents shed light on ongoing practice and BIMCO voices serious concerns.

Image - Floating Armories in the Gulf of Oman (ASKET Ltd)

Concern is mounting over weapons that are allegedly being loaned unlawfully between security companies providing armed escorts on ships, increasing risks for shipowners and operators.

Documents seen by TradeWinds appear to show regulations are being broken, although the situation remains clouded because laws, rules and enforcement differs between countries and flags.

Breaching weapons’ end-user certificates (EUC) can invalidate vessel insurance and could lead to ships being delayed or detained.

Shipowners’ association Bimco has told members of its serious concerns over the loan of weapons and has urged owners to scrutinise contracts when employing armed guards.

It is also calling on flag states to verify the authenticity of weapons’ EUCs.

Bimco says it has become aware of certain private maritime security companies (PMSCs) using weapons that are “rented” or “borrowed” from other PMSCs, an unlawful practice because “the weapons are not legitimately licensed to the end user”.

Such practices are likely to have been fuelled by the tough commercial conditions in the private security market, which has been squeezed by the decline in threat levels and cost-cutting by shipowners.

Read the full Trade Winds article here:

ASKET Ltd monitor each and every transit it brokers and every PMSC must declare legal ownership of weapons and equipment for each transit, we report any irregular activity to the ship owners, flag states and appropriate authorities, for more information contact us today.

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