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Swedish ships take up arms to combat pirates

Swedish ships take up arms to combat pirates

Published: 01 Jul 2011 11:46 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Jul 2011 11:46 GMT+02:00

Swedish commercial shipping firm Wallenius has employed armed security staff to police its fleet to help combat the risk posed by pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

In April the government launched an inquiry into the issue of whether Swedish vessels could make use of armed guards to protect themselves.

But following its own internal investigation, Wallenius has decided to act to hire security staff, armed with assault rifles, to help protect ships as they pass the horn of Africa.

"This is no development which we would have liked to see, but we have unfortunately felt forced to act," said Peter Jodin, maritime safety manager at the shipping company, to Sveriges Radio's Ekot news programme.

The Swedish Shipowners' Association (Sveriges Redareförening) expressed their support for Wallenius' position on Friday.

"This method is unfortunately the best available and I fully understand that they have done so," said association president Håkan Friberg.

Friberg added that security matters are currently a decision for the shipping lines themselves.

"It's entirely up to the shipping companies today, they make an assessment based on the safety of the crew and the security of cargo owners," he said.

The association changed position on the issue last winter following a series of brutal attacks on vessels passing the coast of Somalia, choosing to align themselves with companies wanting to hire armed security forces.

The issue was at the same time placed under review by the government and infrastructure minister Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd described the matter as a priority, but since then there has been no clarity on the matter.

"We have not received any clear answers to the questions we have posed so far," Håkan Friberg said.

Rival Swedish shipping line, Stena Bulk, began deploying armed guards on vessels entering the hazardous area over six months ago.

"We chose early on to do so and were among the first shipping companies in the world to take the decision," said Stena Bulk CEO Ulf Ryder.

As soon as a vessel is set to enter a sensitive area, security personnel are dispatched to the ship.

"Much like a load being placed on board," Ryder explained.

Ulf Ryder said that to date its security staff have not been called upon to use their weapons.

"The ships are also equipped with barbed wire and large signs that state 'Armed Response' in Somali, in other words that we have weapons on board."

Stena Bulk's vessels are all foreign flagged.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:23 July 1, 2011 by kiskin78
@Stickeroo.

What a nice comment from you!. Ironically Somalians here are those that want to get away from the trouble at home; and that is the under lying cause of this piracy problem.

Untill Somalia have an up and running government there will be such problems. No amount of gun fire in my view is going to stop these guys.
15:48 July 1, 2011 by calebian22
Piracy is always stopped with force, nothing else. Dead pirates=no problem
16:29 July 1, 2011 by millionmileman
To all the none believers there are 4 countries that the pirates shy away from: Israel; India; S Korea and when you see the graphic video below, never ever doubt the Russian Navy!

http://true-turtle.livejournal.com/85315.html
14:37 July 2, 2011 by domsworld77
why are pirates called pirates?..............the just arrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhh
18:01 July 3, 2011 by Carbarrister
"In April the government launched an inquiry into the issue of whether Swedish vessels could make use of armed guards to protect themselves.....

The issue was at the same time placed under review by the government and infrastructure minister Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd described the matter as a priority, but since then there has been no clarity on the matter."

You don't want a "priority" to interfere with your summer holiday. It sounds like the companies have handled the problem. The government should continue to study it for the next 50 years and not get in the way.
14:50 July 4, 2011 by J Jack
@ domsworld - the word originated from buccanners, then to privateers, then to pirates.
23:55 July 6, 2011 by nimshubur
@ J Jack

Pirate: from Latin "pirata" and Greek "peiratēs" meaning "brigand."

You can look these things up, you know, instead of posting nonsense and making a fool of yourself.

Buccaneer, privateer, and pirate all have different etymologies, and privateer has a distinctly different meaning.
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