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Sié Chéou-Kang CenterPrivate Security Monitor

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (at podium) addresses the launch of the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s action plan against piracy in London, United Kingdom. The plan will be implemented leading up to the September 2011 World Maritime Day on the theme “Piracy: Orchestrating the Response”.

Global Efforts

International Maritime Organization

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping. IMO has promoted the adoption of some 50 conventions and protocols and adopted several hundred recommendations dealing with maritime safety and security. Although recommendations—whether in the form of codes or otherwise—are not usually binding on Governments, they provide guidance in framing national regulations and requirements.

IMO works through a number of specialist committees and sub-committees. Each of these bodies is composed of representatives of member states. Pertinent is the Intersessional Maritime Security and Piracy Working Group of the Maritime Safety Committee, which has approved Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) circulars on the use of private security personnel on board ships. Information on this and other IMO work-product can be found below or on the IMO website.

IMO Guidance on the Use of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel On-Board Ships

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Country Responses to the IMO Questionnaire on Maritime Regulations

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World Customs Organization Questionnaire on Firearms aboard Ships

The World Customs Organization is an independent body from the United Nations, but it actively participates in IMO and other UN meetings in addition to operating as an intergovernmental body itself. In 2012, the WCO issued a questionnaire to its member countries on their policies towards the regulation of firearms for armed guards aboard ships.


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