BIMCO is developing a standard contract for the employment of armed guards aboard ship. The new contract will be drafted by a team of shipowners, lawyers and underwriters, and with the assistance of the International Group of P&I Clubs.
It will require private security firms offering armed guards to follow the IMO Guidelines for owners on the used privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships (MSC Circular 1405). Of major importance is ensuring that security contractors have in place proper and sufficient public and employers' liability insurance – which is a concern recently raised by the International Group of P&I Clubs. While much of the new BIMCO contract will deal with operational aspects of employing armed security guards, issues of liability and responsibility will be of prime importance.
BIMCO is the largest of the international shipping associations representing ship-owners controlling around 65 percent of the world's tonnage and with members in more than 120 countries drawn from a broad range of stakeholders having a vested interest in the shipping industry, including managers, brokers and agents.
BIMCO says that new private maritime security firms are springing up almost daily to meet shipowners' growing demands for their services for vessels operating in piracy risk areas. It says that it is very important that this new sector be regulated and that harmonized terms are developed and agreed.
BIMCO has given the project the highest priority so that the standard contract can be published as soon as possible – most likely within the next two months.
November 21, 2011