Free article preview  

Indian Ocean piracy is down, thanks to naval patrols, armed guards and ‘panic rooms’, but the law governing ship protection is murky

The hijacking of merchant ships off the coast of Somalia has decreased dramatically in the last year. Yet the private military security companies whose armed guards are largely credited with this turnaround still find themselves legally adrift. PMSCs are governed by the laws of the country – or its territorial waters – that they are in. Carrying arms into a country can be construed as arms smuggling, using weapons without licence, a breach of an arms embargo (especially in Somalia’s case) and other offences. Some countries that permit ships to enter port with armed guards may not allow them to leave with their weapons.

(This article contains approximately 1167 words)

end of preview

Subscribers: log in now to read the complete article.

Account Holders: log in now and use your Account Credit to buy this article. No Credit? Top up your Account now.

If you have misplaced your password, click here for a reminder.

Not a subscriber? Then you can read this article in full by becoming a subscriber now, opening an Account and topping up and using your Account Credit, or you can buy this individual article.

  • 1. Subscribe:
  • 2. Use my account:
  • 3. Buy this article:
  • Prices from £867.60
    (including VAT)

    Take out an annual subscription and get access to our archive of more than 16 years of articles from Africa Confidential.

  • 5 articles £60.00
    10 articles £102.00
    20 articles £180.00
    (prices includes VAT)

    Account-holders log in above. If you don’t have an account yet, it only takes a minute to open one.

    Top up and use your Account Credit to read this article.

  • UK & European Union
    (including VAT)
    Rest of the world

  • If you have a print subscription already, click here for a password that gives you full access to the website.
  • If you are logged in, but still cannot access the full text of this article, email customer services or telephone us on +44(0)1638 743633.


Stephen Askins, Sri Lanka, Nissanka Senadhipathi, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, Seychelles, Mongolian, Leslie Edwards, Panic room thwarts pirates, Djibouti, Ban Ki-moon, British, Yemen, Africa Confidential, Sinbad, AC