Marshall Islands directive screens security companies

The Republic of the Marshall Islands has released a directive to companies with vessels under its flag, stating that, effective as of 1st January 2016, companies shall engage only those Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) that are certified to the ISO PAS 28007:2012 standard by a UK Accreditation Service-authorised (UKAS) certification body. 

The Marshall Islands is the world’s third largest registry with a fleet of over 3,640 ships. It is the first flag to implement the new rules following a revised interim recommendation, as published in June’s Maritime Safety Committee circular MSC.1/Circ.1406/Rev.

The notice, entitled ‘Piracy, Security, and the use of Armed Security’ (Marine Notice No. 2-011-39 Rev. 12/15), also takes into account those PMSCs due to become certified or renew certificates after the 2016 deadline as per the MSC rules, stating they hold a valid ISO 28007:2015 standard.

Applying to all yachts, regardless of their registration type, the document includes a clause to ensure that PMSCs have measures and procedures in place that are compliant with international law on human rights. It shows that PMSCs must conform with all the relevant legal and regulatory obligations pertaining to the UN Guiding Principals on Business and Human Rights. 

Due to the increased threat of piracy and armed robbery leading to the prevalent use of armed guards and armed maritime security services in High Risk Areas (HRAs), the document also details the responsibility of both those on board and on land. It advises, “To protect ships and their crews, companies must continue to perform due diligence; including thorough voyage security risk assessments and the utilisation of industry BMP guidelines.”

It is believed that more flag states are likely to follow the Marshall Islands’ lead and implement the recommendations in due course.

View the directive in full, here.

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