Greece is preparing legislation to allow its merchant ships to hire armed guards to combat pirate attacks.
The draft law would allow for up to six armed guards on a Greek-flagged ship sailing through pirate-infested areas including the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and parts of the Indian Ocean. Greece is one of the few major maritime nations, along with Japan, the U.K. and the Netherlands that currently ban the use of armed guards on their vessels.
The U.K. recently announced plans to issue licenses for armed guards on U.K.-flagged vessels, increasing pressure on Athens to follow suit to prevent Greek ships switching to registers that allow the use of weapons against pirates. The Greek captains’ union has expressed fears that putting guards on board ship will set off an arms race with pirates.
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