The Star (Nairobi)

30 November 2012

Kenya: KMA Issues New Rules for Armed Vessels Guards

SHIPS carrying arms or armed guards will not be allowed into the Kenyan waters unless they provide documentation from the flag state allowing them to be armed, Kenya Maritime Authority has said.

KMA's head of rescue and coordination centre Dave Muli told the Star that the move is aimed at streamline maritime operation and monitor the proliferation small arms in the country as stated in the Firearms Act.

"The ships coming to Kenya with armed vessels or armed guards used to ask for temporary permit from the commissioner of police, but under the new guidelines the ships need to show the documentation," he said.

Ships have been hiring private security because of hijacking of vessels in the Indian Ocean.

But KMA says because of there is reduced piracy, flag state from which the vessels come from are required to have permits for the arms or security personnel manning the ships.

"Kenyan government has had to reconsider how to deal with the emerging phenomenon which calls for new regulations to deal with vessels carrying armed escorts on Kenyan waters," KMA statement read.

Kenya through KMA wants the flag states to regulate the selection and use of private armed security guards to ensure high ethical standards and professionalism are followed to comply with Firearms Act.

"If the flag states elect to allow ships to carry privately contracted armed security personnel PCASP, they can only do so after conducting thorough risk assessment," the statement read.

Regulations by KMA demands that, "On each voyage, armed guards must carry documentary evidence of certification by the flag state."

The guidelines also include notification to the relevant authorities on fire arms and ammunition, notification regarding other security related equipment and another one regarding PCASP.

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