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German-flag ships closer to getting armed security

Written by Nick Blenkey

Nagel VDR 3 PrintJUNE 21, 2013 — The German Shipowners’ Association (VDR) says that, starting immediately, private security firms operating in Germany and abroad can apply for approval with the German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) to be commissioned on board merchant ships flying the German flag under a new Maritime Ship Surveillance Regulation that entered into force today.

VDR CEO Ralf Nagel.

“It’s important that the approval process for private security services can finally begin now,” says VDR CEO Ralf Nagel. “The salient points for the shipowners were taken into consideration by the German federal government.”

The Regulation contains numerous requirements that need to be met by the security firms. Each mission must be carefully planned and documented. Staff members must have the necessary personal suitability as well as emergency medical skills and legal knowledge.

The use of firearms is only permitted in self-defense or for emergency assistance.

“The BAFA will now initiate the approval mechanism speedily and professionally,” says Mr.Nagel.

From December 1, 2013, only private maritime security companies approved by the BAFA will be allowed to be deployed on ships flying the German flag.

“By then an adequate number of suitable firms will have to be approved so that German shipowners can actually protect their crew members in regions impacted by piracy,” says Nagel. “Until now, no ship protected by armed security staff has ever been captured by pirates.”

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