Overseas Civilian Contractors

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Piracy fighters use floating armories

Associated Press  March 22, 2012

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Private security firms are storing their guns aboard floating armories in international waters so ships that want armed anti-piracy guards for East Africa’s pirate-infested waters can cut costs and circumvent laws limiting the import and export of weapons, industry officials say.

Companies and legal experts say the operation of the armories is a “legal gray area” because few, if any, governments have laws governing the practice. Some security companies have simply not informed the governments of the flag their ship is flying, industry officials said.

Some members of the private security sector are urging governments and industry leaders to impose standards on the unchecked practice of storing weapons offshore to equip anti-pirate forces off Somalia’s coast.

Storing guns on boats offshore really took off as a business last year. Britain — where many of the operators are from — is investigating the legality of the practice, which has received little publicity outside of shipping industry circles.

Floating armories have become a viable business in the wake of increased security practices by the maritime industry, which has struggled for years to combat attacks by Somali pirates. But those in the industry say the standards vary widely

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March 22, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Maritime Security, Pirates, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, Somalia | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment