January 2015 – BIMCO issued a security advisory on 20 Jan 2015 in which states that has recently received reports that a small minority of Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) may be operating contrary to the provisions of GUARDCON. These companies are leasing or renting out their weapons to other PMSCs. Those renting/leasing from third parties without having in place the required licences and permits issued by state authorities to control the handling and movement of weapons are likely to be in breach of the original “end user” licences and therefore operating illegally.
PMSCs who engage in this practice are potentially in breach of their obligations under Clause 10 (Permits and Licences) of GUARDCON. Those PMSCs renting/leasing out the weapons are potentially in breach of the UK Proceeds of Crime Act and other similar international laws. The motivation of these PMSCs is to undercut their competition in an increasingly competitive market by slashing weapons-related logistics costs.
BIMCO therefore urges owners and operators, particularly those with long-term contracts with PMSCs, to exercise proper due diligence in checking that their chosen security company is operating in accordance with valid permits and licences as specified at Clause 10 of GUARDCON.