Guards ‘facing increasing criminalisation’

Concerns are being raised across the maritime security industry over the increasing criminalisation of security operatives.

While the vast majority of operations are carried out without undue drama, a few have incurred problems and it is often a result of misunderstanding and mistrust by some authorities over the role played by private security guards.

And it is a situation which could get much worse, according to the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) which believes the root cause of the problem stems from guards not being classed as seafarers and therefore not receiving the same protection as crew members under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006).

Two events have recently highlighted the increase in criminalisation – the first was the case, in October, of Advantfort’s anti-piracy vessel Seaman Guard Ohio, where the 35-strong crew were imprisoned in India when the ship was detained for allegedly illegally straying into Indian water – all but two of the men have now been released on bail but still face allegations of possession of guns and ammunition.

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