AbstractsLaw & Legal Studies

Hell or High Water. The Use of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel On Board Merchant Vessels

by Edda María Sveinsdóttir 1989

Institution: University of Iceland
Year: 2015
Keywords: Lögfræði; Sjórán; Flutningaskip; Varnarmál; Öryggi sjófarenda
Record ID: 1222115
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/20220


The purpose of this thesis is to examine the ever-expanding industry of Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) and the utilization of Privately Contracted Armed Security Armed Personnel (PCASP) on board merchant vessels and their part in countering the threat that pirates pose to the shipping industry. In the first chapter, the definition of piracy is discussed as well as the difficulties concerning problems of definitions, especially regarding piracy incidents in territorial waters or armed robbery against ships. However, as an extensive overview of this problem would be a subject for a separate thesis in itself, and so it is only briefly deliberated in this thesis. The phenomenon of piracy is reviewed and discussion of the events and backstory for why private security providers began embarking on vessels for protection follows. The evolution from fishermen guarding their waters from illegal fishing by foreign vessels to vicious and violent pirates taking hostages and hijacking vessels, adapting to extensive naval patrols by employing mother ships and expanding their “hunting grounds” is subsequently mentioned. A quick overview is given on jurisdictional issues states face when dealing with piracy and universal jurisdiction, which has been noted to apply for pirates. However, as is explained in chapter 1.4, the prosecution of the apprehended pirates has not been going as smoothly as planned. Next, the attention is directed towards counter-piracy efforts by the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization and shipping industry. From naval deployment to Best Management Practices, finally the attention is turned towards the most problematic issue concerning piracy for ship owners, the employment of PCASP, which is surrounded by countless critical and complex questions. Chapter 2 considers the evolving use of private security service providers and how the industry went from employing no security measures to the slow shift towards the use of PCASP until it became a common practice. The defensive role of PMSCs is discussed briefly along with the possible advantages of PCASP employment. In Chapter 3, the first steps towards the development of legal standards for PCASP are reviewed and how the regulations went from almost nonexistent to a constantly evolving environment. From the Montreux Document, the development of ICoC all the way to IMO’s guidance and recommendations and standards set by the industry, are all considered. Chapter 4 gives a short outline of the many issues surrounding the use of PCASP that are crucial for ship owners to pay attention to. These are, for example: the division of authority between the master of a ship and PCASP employed on board; the appropriate rules for the use of force by the PCASP; the questions of liability deriving from the use of force; and the possible difficulties when vessels embark weapons into foreign ports. Chapter 5 covers the rules for the use of force by PMSCs, as they are one of the most important aspects that need resolve concerning the use of PCASP.…