UK Flagged Superyachts Can Use Guns to Defend Against Pirates

UK-registered superyachts will be able to employ armed guards to defend themselves against the threat of piracy in exceptional circumstances under new guidance just confirmed by the British Government.

The widely anticipated move comes after a significant increase in the number of attacks against vessels in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden in recent years.
Currently 12 vessels and over 240 hostages are in the control of pirates off the Somali coast and in the last four years, 64 people including crews on yachts have lost their lives as a consequence of piracy off the East African coast.

The Government has however stopped short of allowing British flagged vessels the support of armed squads of Royal Marines that would have given them protection against such acts.
The guidance published by the Department of Transport includes the factors ship owners should include in a risk assessment and offers advice on selecting a private security company (PSC). 
Those wishing to use on board armed guards will also be required to submit a detailed counter-piracy plan to the Department for Transport in advance.
Under the changes, any PSC employed to put armed guards onboard UK ships will require authorisation from the Home Office for the possession of prohibited firearms. 
The Home Office and police will also carry out checks into the PSC and its personnel before an authorisation is granted.
The guidance to the UK shipping industry on the use of armed guards on vessels is available on the Department for Transport website