There are lessons to be learnt by Shipping and Security companies from the Seaman Guard Ohio case.

Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of maritime security company MAST and former Royal Navy counter piracy commander, comments on the detention of six British nationals in India who were employed as armed guards aboard ships in the Indian Ocean:  
It is well understood across the international community and in the shipping industry that the armed guarding of commercial shipping plays a key role, alongside the presence of naval military patrols and industry approved Best Management Practice 4, in keeping Somali piracy in the Indian Ocean suppressed.
 However, international law and municipal law relating to the maritime domain is complex and it is essential that proper legal advice is taken before entering a country’s territorial waters with large quantities of firearms. It appears that in this case people have been found guilty by the Indian courts when it is likely that they had little or no control over the operation of the vessel when those ultimately responsible have evaded justice. We therefore agree with the earlier statement by Human Rights at Sea that this is a travesty of justice for those crew members.
 Currently the penalty for not operating in accordance with regulations is that vessels and MSOs will be vulnerable to arrest. Given the legal constraints of territorial waters, only companies with the experience to ensure that vessels are suitably prepared, and crews briefed and trained to protect themselves from an attack, should be used so that they do not dip below the threshold for safe and professional delivery.
 

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