The international maritime council, BIMCO, is in the process of completing a set of guidelines for hiring armed guards. In and of itself that is a good and positive step, says Stefan Nonboe, a partner of Custos, a security company which advices shipping companies on piracy. However, Nonboe also believes that jurisdiction and ongoing supervision is necessary to get rid of the lawlessness which, according to Custos, characterizes parts of the market.
“It is a great and proper step that guidelines are now being created for the shipping companies to embrace. However, it is important to focus on the industry itself, both the security guard companies and the guards themselves. For instance, in Denmark the latter can be hired on nothing but the absence of a criminal record and 14 days of training. And Denmark actually has more demands than a lot of other countries. Many of the people we meet are not properly equipped to do their job as an armed guard on a ship,” says Stefan Nonboe.