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Cyprus to Legislate Allowing Armed Guards on Ships June 20, 2011

Posted by Chris Mark in Laws and Leglslation, Piracy & Maritime Security.
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Cyprus is poised to become the first European country to legislate allowing guards on ships to fire on pirates to defend the ship.  Recognizing the seriousness of the increasingly frequent and violent attacks on ships, Cyprus is preparing draft legislation which would allow ships sailing under the flag of Cyprus to use armed guards as part of the ships defense.  The conditions under which the guards will be allowed to engage the pirat es will be strictly controlled under the law.   “Guards will not be allowed to fire first,” said George Mouskas, president of the Cyprus Union of Shipowners. According to Mr Mouskas, the move to allow armed guards on board is primarily meant to be a deterrent as pirates largely avoid well-defended vessels.  Tellingly, Mr. Mouskas states: “no ship that has armed guards on board has ever been taken by pirates, so it has been very effective,”

This marks a watershed moment in maritime security and makes a definitive statement that armed security is needed to protect ships and their crews from the increasingly violent attacks.  The Cyprus government is to be applauded for their efforts and vision on this front.

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