Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel - Rules for the Use of Force

June 05, 2014 0 Comments Bloggies by Graham Penrose

The 100 Series Rules™

The 100 Series rules have been developed for the benefit of the entire maritime industry and under-pinned by a thorough public international and criminal law legal review using an objective international law test of what is "reasonable and necessary" when force is used, as a lawful last resort, in self-defense.

This objective international legal test is deemed to be of a higher legal standard than that of subjective national legislative provisions for self-defense. The 100 Series Rules™ will not bind flag States as to their use, but instead provide a choice for their potential incorporation into national guidance as determined by respective governments and competent authorities.

In 2011 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) changed its stance on Shipping Companies employing Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) onboard Merchant Vessels and reported that it was a matter for Flag State Approval. The Oxford University Small Arms Survey of 2012 indicated that the percentage of ships employing armed guards rose from 10% to 50%.

The 100 Series Rules™ are a model set and example of best practice for maritime RUF. They complement current industry RUF guidance on the drafting of RUF, as well as supporting the requirements of ISO PAS 28007 as a Publicly Available Specification and international standard. The 100 Series Rules™ will go to providing an international model set of RUF as against which, Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) may be professionally trained, Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) may be audited and operator actions both measured and judged by competent authorities. The 100 Series Rules™ will not, however, provide any form of defence, indemnity or immunity whatsoever against civil or criminal liability when force has been used unlawfully.

  • RULE 100 In the event of any actual, perceived or threatened attack by third parties the Team Leader (TL) or, in the TL’s absence, other PCASP, shall advise the Master or (in the Master’s absence) the Officer of the Watch that he intends to invoke these Rules for the Use of Force.
  • RULE 101 Non-kinetic warnings may be used where there is a reasonable belief that a craft is displaying behaviour(s) assessed to be similar to those of a potential attacker.
  • RULE 102 Firearms may be used to fire aimed Warning Shots when it is assessed by the TL or in the TL’s absence, other PCASP, that Warning Shots may deter an actual, perceived or threatened attack.
  • RULE 103 When under attack or when an attack is imminent, reasonable and necessary use of force may be used in self-defence, including, as a last resort, lethal force.

National Standards ISO PAS 28007

National Standards ISO Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 28007 (ISO/PAS 28007:2012) provides a set of guidelines that includes sector-specific recommendations. The guidelines have been put in place to allow organizations that provide Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) on board ships to demonstrate compliance with internationally accepted and recognized Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), in particular those with respect to the Rules for the Use of Force (RUF) - a highly emotive issue and a source of ongoing negative PR for the industry - as a result of the actions of a small number of unscrupulous operators.

To claim compliance with these guidelines, all recommendations ("should's") should be complied with. Compliance with ISO/PAS 28007:2012 can be by first, second and third party (certification). Where certification is used, it is recommended the certificate contains the words:

"This certification has been prepared using the full guidelines of ISO PAS 28007 as a Private Maritime Security Company providing Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel". (Extract ISO Web Site)

The standard was specifically developed for organizations operating in the High Risk Area (ITF IBF HRA Designations 2012)  off the Horn of Africa providing security transits from Suez to South East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. However, many of the certified or soon to be certified Private Maritime Security Companies equally apply the practices to operations in other parts of the world. The guidelines were developed via an abbreviated ISO process and will have to be reviewed before it becomes a full-fledged ISO Standard. ISO/PAS 28007 does not adopt the International Code of Conduct principles, which were developed for the land rather than maritime environment.

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service ("UKAS") is the only national accreditation body that accredits auditing companies to certify to the standard. As of May 2014 only two certification bodies were actively certifying to ISO/PAS 28007: LRQA and MSS Global.

The introduction of the ISO/PAS 28007 is a welcome introduction to the industry as it lays out clear guidelines to PMSCs and PCASPs as to what the minimum standards are, as required by shipping companies and their respective Flags employing armed security on their vessels.

ANSI/ASIS 2012 & PSC.4-2013

ANSI/ASIS PSC.4-2013 is guidance for Quality Assurance and Security Management for Private Security Companies Operating at Sea. The guidance document explains how to implement ANSI/ASIS PSC.1-2012 within the maritime environment. ANSI/ASIS PSC.1-2012 contains four documents published in the ANSI/ASIS series that apply to Private Security Companies. ANSI/ASIS PSC.4-2013 is one of these documents.

The standard seeks to operationalize the International Code of Conduct (ICoC) for Private Security Service Providers within a formal structure familiar to businesses. That structure, with national and international supervision, provides auditable procedures for the development of the standard, certification to it, and monitoring of ongoing compliance. It incorporates elements of the Montreux Document.

Acknowledgements & Sources:

  1. The 100 Series (TM)
  2. Andy Edwards MA (Maritime Security)
  3. ISO Online
  4. ANSI / ASIS Wiki
  5. ISO Wiki
  6. Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) Wiki
  7. MSS Global
  8. United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS)
  9. ITF IBF HRA Designations 2012
  10. International Code of Conduct (ICoC)
  11. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
  12. Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (Rome, 10 March 1988).
  13. International Maritime Organization (IMO) Circular MSC.1/Circ.1405/Rev.2 dated 25 May 12, MSC.1/Circ.1406/Rev.2 dated 25 May 12 & MSC.1/Circ. 1443 dated 25 May 12.
  14. European Regulation (EC) No. 725/2004 29 Apr 04.
  15. Oxford University Small Arms Survey 2012
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