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International and Comparative Regulation of Private Maritime Security Companies Employed in Counter-Piracy

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Document pages: 31 pages

Abstract: This paper analyzes the legal issues surrounding the use of private security companies (PSC) private maritime security companies (PMSC) and their use of private contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) to protect commercial vessels. In particular, standards and rules are emerging for employment of PCASP to guard ships transiting the High Risk Area (HRA) threatened by Somali pirates in the western Indian Ocean. Flag states, the shipping industry and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have developed recommendations to states and guidelines for the shipping industry to standardize practice and regulate the use of PCASP. The regulations concern the command relationship between the master and the armed security contractors, appropriate rules for the use of force against threats to the vessel or its crew, questions of liability, and carriage of weapons in the ports of other countries. Most of these issues fall within the prerogative of the flag state. Questions arising from the use by PCASP of weapons against persons on board a foreign-flagged ship, the presence of weapons or use of force in foreign ports, or perhaps in some cases, use of PCASP in territorial seas, may require diplomatic negotiation.

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