Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cameron Authorises 'Shoot to Kill' Policy for Pirates of Freight and Container Vessels

Private Security Personnel Will Be Licensed to Carry Arms Aboard British Flagged Ships
Shipping News Feature

UK – SOMALIA – WORLDWIDE – Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show this morning Prime Minister David Cameron has revealed that the UK is to take a much harder line with regard to the scandal of pirate gangs attacking shipping in the Indian Ocean. The PM described the current policy of releasing alleged pirates due to lack of will to prosecute as ‘ludicrous’ and revealed he has sanctioned the use of armed guards on British flagged freight, container and passenger vessels transiting the danger zone.

Cameron called the situation ‘scandalous and insulting’ and told how he had instructed the Home Office to institute a licensing policy for British registered vessels to carry fully armed security personnel to deter and beat off attacks. When questioned if he was comfortable to bring in legislation that was effectively a ‘shoot to kill’ policy he replied that there simply had to be a choice made to change the current situation which had become intolerable.

Cameron also spoke of discussions he was having with the Seychelles and Mauritius whom he pointed out were actually prosecuting and imprisoning pirates despite being amongst the poorer nations of the world. He also pointed out that the West must do much more to address the problems of the region at source with abject poverty, lack of government and famine widespread in Somalia and beyond often currently ignored and left unchecked. This change in policy may be a response to the call for action made recently to NATO.

At last it seems that Britain is to act unilaterally on a problem which has seen some other states, China, India and Russia for example, deal harshly with hijackers but with the vast bulk of flag states having no coherent and cohesive policy for dealing with the scourge of modern piracy. We await confirmation of the Prime Ministers speech and to see how long this new licensing of armed personnel will take to implement.

For a full historical run down on the development of the pirate situation with regard to container freight and cargo vessels you can type pirate into the News Search box at the head of the page.