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Armed guards on Norwegian ships

armed guardsThe Norwegian government has decided to allow armed guards on Norwegian commercial vessels on a permanent basis.

What started as a trial period in 2011 to help decrease the number of attacks on Norwegian vessels by Somali pirates has now become permanent.

“So far we have good experiences with this arrangement. It was not a desired goal for us to introduce armed security guards, but it was necessary based on the threat level Norwegian vessels were faced with. Now we have seen a dramatic decline in the number of attacks,” says Minister of Trade Trond Giske.

The Norwegian Association for Ships Engineers emphasize that armed guards should not become a replacement for the Norwegian military’s presence in the waters where pirates operate.

However, their members say that the introduction of armed guards has mainly been positive, and made the voyage feel safer, says the secretary general of the association, Hilde Gunn Avl√∏yp.

The government was initially worried that the use of guns would get out of control if less serious, private security companies were granted access to Norwegian ships.

- So far we have avoided any unwanted use of guns, Giske tells NRK, and explains that the arrangement does not seem to have escalated the use of violence on either side.

(Aftenposten)

Julie Ryland

Via: http://www.norwaypost.no

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