Armed Security on Board Made Legal
By mcs editor
The Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the Portuguese Republic has approved armed private security on board of Portuguese registered ships, including those registered in the International Shipping Registry of Madeira (MAR), through Decree-Law 159/2019 of October 24th.
Private armed security teams on
board of Portuguese registered ships is limited to those ships that navigate
through high-risk areas for piracy, as defined by the Portuguese Government.
Private armed security providers and
their employees must obtain license and a hold a professional card,
respectively, to be issued by the Portuguese Public Security Police (PSP) in accordance
with the rules set by Decree-Law 159/2019. Furthermore, the use and carrying of
weapons is only permitted to the security team members in the areas classified
as high-risk areas for piracy.
Portuguese registered ships can hire
private armed security companies that are duly registered in accordance with the
laws and regulations of a EU Member-State o a country member of the European
Economic Area. These companies must have a sole corporate object, private armed
security providers, and a minimum share capital of EUR 250 000.
Companies providing private armed
security services to Portuguese registered ships must have a Security Director
who is responsible for choosing the Security Team Coordinator, for making and
proposing the anti-piracy plan (in accordance with the Law and to be approved by
DGRM and upon issuance of binding opinion be PSP the National Maritime
Authority), for making and proposing the trip plan and for making and proposing
the terrestrial transportation plan regarding the arms and ammunitions.
The Security Team Coordinator is
responsible for managing the security team, for evaluating the security on board
and following the ship’s captain inspection and for coordinating the team’s
intervention without jeopardizing the ship’s captain maximum authority on
In accordance with the law private
armed security on board cannot use a military or a military inspired uniform.
When reaching high-risk areas for piracy and overall vestment stating “On Board
Security” must be used.
Allowed weapons for security on
board include: semi-automatic long firearms with automatic configuration for
military use; semi-automatic pistols with calibers 6.5mm Browning; pepper
sprays; and electric weapons which shape cannot be mistaken by another other
class of weapon.
Further to the above, the ship must contain:
anti-fire closets to store, separately, arms and ammunitions; CCTV (with audio)
system; and voice communications systems.
These new measures greatly benefit
the Portuguese merchant navy in registered in the International Shipping
Registry of Madeira (MAR) and reinforce its position as one of the most
competitive shipping registries in Europe.
For more information on this matter please do not hesitate to contact us.