The Use of Private Contractors in the Fight against Piracy: Policy Options
The waters off Somalia and other sea routes show a resurrection of piracy. As land dominates the sea, modern piracy is mostly a result of failed states and their deficiency to police territorial sea. The law empowers states to take action against pirates on the high seas through their navies. This chapter reviews the current practice and argues that private military and security companies (PMCSs) are not allowed to arm vessels for pirate hunting. However, merchant ships are entitled to exercise their right of self-defence if attacked by pirates and it is possible to embark armed guards and even escorting merchant vessels with craft supplied by PMCSs. Problems may arise when escorted merchant vessels are exercising innocent/transit passage in foreign territorial waters and in international straits. The chapter concludes that a regulation of maritime PMSCs is highly recommended.
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