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IMO expected to issue policy statement on shipboard armed guards this week

THE UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) this week expected to pronounce on the status of shipboard armed guards, drawing from the record of the 19-member companies of the fledgling Security Association for the Marine Industries (SAMI).

IMO expected to issue policy statement on shipboard armed guards this week
24 May 2011 - 06:52

THE UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) this week expected to pronounce on the status of shipboard armed guards, drawing from the record of the 19-member companies of the fledgling Security Association for the Marine Industries (SAMI).

Some 160 security teams are sent to ships every month to protect them against pirates at an average cost of US$100,000 per team, said SAMI.

Founded last year by ex-Royal Marine Major Peter Cook and commercial shipping navigation officer Steven Jones, SAMI said it will be vetting security firms operating in the marine sector, reports Tanker Operator.

Mr Cook, whose organisation has the backing of the Marshall Islands flag state, said members have to sign an International Code of Conduct for Private Security Contractors, which is a Swiss initiative.

"There is no regulation to look at the entrepreneurs, either good or bad. We are waiting for IMO guidelines," said Mr Cook, adding that that the Norwegians have guidelines in place and he was talking with the International Group of Shipping Organisations and the International Group of P&I Clubs.

SAMI is working with London law firm Ince & Co, which has a substantial presence in Hong Kong, on a contract. "Rules of engagement should be standardised," Mr Cook said. "The more it is regulated, the better it is for everybody."

Although organisations cannot become an NGO at the IMO for five years after its establishment, Mr Cook said that SAMI would like to be consulted whenever security is debated.

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