Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Rules to Protect Container and Bulk Shipping Against Pirates Set Out Acceptable Levels of Force

Although not Mandatory at Last Masters Have a Blueprint to Defend their Vessels
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – One of the most difficult and traumatic things which can happen to any individual or group is to be subjected to a physical assault. Although it is universally agreed that everyone has a right to defend themselves against such an attack the response, and the specifically acceptable methods and degrees of defence, vary from culture to culture and there can never can be a definitive answer to what constitutes reasonable force in what are, after all, unique experiences. With the rise in piracy and the promotion of new security methods the shipping industry needs guidance as to the use of force when a container vessel or bulk tanker comes under attack and this month someone has released the closest thing possible to a definitive guide to the amount of force acceptable when attempting to fend off a hijack.

The report, prepared by the legal team at 9 Bedford Row International, which last month became the first legal Affiliate to the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI), is available HERE in .pdf and on the 100 Series website and follows almost two years of work. Although the rules have no legal standing they have been formally submitted to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) with a view to providing an international model code of practice against which privately contracted, armed personnel can be trained and employed whilst their employers can be audited and their actions measured and judged by the competent authorities within whose jurisdiction the original offence occurred.

The 100 Series Rules represents the first international model set of Rules for the Use of Force (RUF)  to have been produced. They are not mandatory, but do provide choice to the maritime industry when drafting and reviewing RUF. The bulk of the work preparing the document was performed by the author, David Hammond, Barrister and former marine, with supporting contributors, including Steven Kay QC and Gillian Higgins of Chambers, as well as SAMI, BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Republic of the Marshall Islands, the UK Chamber of Shipping and member companies of the Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG).