Maritime Security – UK Ships to carry armed guards

7 November 2011

David Cameron recently announced that ships sailing under the British flag will be allowed to carry armed guards as a deterrent to pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden.

Bellwood Prestbury provides specialist maritime security insurance to a growing number of companies who provide guards onboard ships. Most employ ex-military consultants who mount round the clock surveillance while the ships are in the danger area, said to cover around three million square miles of waters off the coast of East Africa.

Armed guards have so far proved to be an excellent deterrent to pirates. Peter Cook, director of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (Sami) confirmed that no vessel with armed guards had been taken over by pirates.

Of course, the Port Authorities or countries where transits begin and end do not always welcome armed guards. Ultimately, individual countries can decide if armed guards are allowed in their waters. Egypt, for example, will not allow armed guards on board vessels using the Suez Canal. Armed guards are expected to leave vessels and travel by other means to pick up their ship as it leaves Egyptian waters.

Coral Parfitt, international consultant at Bellwood Prestbury says this can affect the cover that maritime security companies may need. “As well as cover on board, maritime security companies need to ensure that their people are covered on land for things like road traffic accidents or travel insurance. They also don’t want to be paying for personal accident cover if their operatives are not working. We arrange policies with a daily call-off, so the maritime security company only pays for relevant cover when their personnel are actively deployed onboard ship.”

For more information about maritime security insurance, personal accident cover or other international cover, call our knowledgeable team on +44 (0) 1242 584 558 or email us today.

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