[NMS Note: This was translated from French by Google Translate.]
MOST.¬†While a regional summit on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea¬†opens this Friday in Yaounde¬†, capital of Cameroon, the trainee of the 20th promotion of the War College, Commander and naval officer onboard for nine years on surface vessels Damien Lopez wants to open the debate and if France appealed to private companies?
Just before Christmas 2012, the twenty-two surviving crew members of the “Iceberg 1” ship Panamanian trade captured by Somali pirates in March 2009,¬†were released after two years and nine months captivity¬†.¬†Delivered to barbarism, abandoned by almost everyone, the story of the physical and mental torture they suffered thrilled.
In fact, while it was believed eradicated long, piracy resurfaced and threatens the security of the oceans.Yesterday in Southeast Asia is now off the African coast in the Gulf of Guinea and the Somali Basin, it appears to have a successful future in spite of the important means used to contain it.¬†France, deeply involved in the global fight against the phenomenon, however, just to protect its own merchant vessels, it now seems necessary and urgent to consider outsourcing protection activities now considered prerogatives sovereign immutable.
Armed teams on board as a pledge of security
State responses to protect shipping in the form of large, coordinated actions such¬†Atalanta¬†of the European Union, or isolated in some countries for escort vessels flying their flag initiatives.¬†IMO (International Maritime Organization) recommends for its use of¬†Best Management Practices¬†, passive protection rules and behave in case of attack.
Essential, however, these actions prove insufficient to counter the phenomenon because hackers have for them the vastness of the ocean and the advantage of the initiative.¬†Close protection vessel by an army team remains the best guarantee of security, but its implementation depends on the laws of the State whose flag is flown by the vessel, under international maritime law.
Many countries have chosen to allow the owners to use the services of private military companies.¬†In contrast, France refuses again, setting up EPE (Teams Embedded Protection), composed of soldiers from the Navy on board French vessels deemed vulnerable.¬†But in the context of stress on the human resources of state resources, the deployment of armed military teams is not always simple.¬†“Shipowners France”, the organization which represents the French shipping companies, estimated that one third of applications are rejected because of restrictive eligibility criteria and deadlines for implementation incompatible with commercial imperatives.
Before the law, owners are however responsible for the safety of their vessels and their employees.Highlighting the effectiveness of EPE but aware of the inability of the state to honor all requests, maritime corporation wishes to use the services of ESSD (Business Services Security and Defence), private companies whose activities armed protection are for the time being prohibited in France.
Three French obstacles
This privatization of the use of force at sea stumbles on several points.
First, she stumbles on a legal vacuum: the law regulates the activity of private security companies (such as transporting money or close protection of people) in the country but does not address the case of international waters .
The second obstacle is cultural: haunted by the specter of Bob Denard, France in 2003 legislated against the practice of mercenary.¬†This law, which was intended primarily symbolic, indirectly shamed the ESSD whose activities are considered especially suspicious that some dishonest foreign companies have shown ominously in recent conflicts.
Finally, there remains a legitimate institutional reluctance to be deprived of what constitutes the essence of sovereign domain, the use of private services opens the door to a broader subsequent renunciation for the protection and sovereignty.
Start the discussion!
In November, the President of the French Maritime Cluster highlighted the hypocrisy of the French position, revealing that¬†“ships flying the French flag using private companies illegally”¬†and urged the government to legislate quickly to regulate this practice.
While nearly 30% of foreign vessels led to cross areas of piracy have used the services of private companies, national shipowners threaten “flagging out” their vessels, which is far from trivial at a time when the registrations French ships, 206 vessels over 50 tons in the last census, are stalled.
The France does stop at a debate of opinions and a law to effectively protect its merchant fleet?