|Armed guard on starboard Bridge wing|
"Ships sailing under a British flag will be able to carry armed guards to protect them from pirates, the Prime Minister has announced."
As one might expect there are comments attached to the report most of which show either an ignorance of operating ships in pirate infested waters, are against the Prime Minister Mr. Cameron from a political standpoint or a combination of both. Putting that aside as having no real value in dealing with the piracy issue and the decision taken, we quote further.
"Under the plans the British Home Secretary would be given the power to license armed guards for ships. Of 53 hijackings last year 49 took place off the coast of Somalia. No ship carrying armed security has yet been hijacked, the government claims. Up to 200 vessels flying the Red Ensign - the British Merchant Navy flag - sail (through the Horn of Africa area) close to Somalia. Officials estimate that about 100 of those would apply for permission to have armed guards. It is thought that many British registered ships already carry armed guards because they feel they have no alternative."
Arrangements will still have to made with some countries however there seems to be a general agreement that the situation has declined so that this measure has to be taken. Overall it must be carefully monitored.
For months now Post after Post NAUTICAL LOG has written a reminder in RED about the 400 seafarers held captive by pirates off the coast of Somalia. We can only be pleased therefore that the British have the moral courage to take this step - which is controversial. No doubt other maritime nations will also now consider the issue and might decide to also carry armed guards. Once the piracy stops it will then not be necessary to carry armed guards thus it can be viewed as a temporary measure to solve a specific problem.
Let's not forget that the 400 seafarers are STILL held captive by pirates off the coast of Somalia.