Government proposes a regulation allowing use of armed guards on Norwegian-registered ships. The purpose is to ensure security for ships and sailors, but Socialist Left Party (SV) MP Alf Holmelid fears that this may work against its intention.
According to the government’s proposal, the Norwegian-registered ships can obtain permission to use armed guards on. The situation in the Gulf of Aden makes the base of the regulation that will be applied from 1st of July, 2011 and will be evaluated within 1 year.
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- The use of armed guards on board Norwegian ships is not desirable, but the government believes it is necessary and we are happy to succeed to apply it as a pilot project in one year, says Alf Holmelid, SV industrial policy spokesperson.
Holmelid also said they are concerned that armed guards may work against their purpose and they do not want to have cowboy states in the Gulf of Aden.Background Information about the Regulation
The company must apply to the police authorities in Norway and submit necessary documentation to the Norwegian Maritime Direc-torate. The company is independently responsible for risk assessment and the use of armed guards. The company must conduct a risk assessment in advance, showing that there is a need for the use of armed guards. The company must also be able to submit documen-tation of guard company's suitability - ie the security company's own documentation of procedures for training, qualifications, re-cruitment, retention and use of weapons.
Annually, more than 1000 Norwegian-owned vessels sail through the Gulf of Aden, and approx. half of them are Norwegian flagged. USA, Denmark, Spain, Marshall Islands, Panama, Liberia and Singapore already have rules for the use of private armed guards in place, while UK, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden are working on such a regulation.