We would like to advise Members that the Egyptian government have forbidden any presence of arms or security squads on board commercial vessels, as per laws and regulations of the International Maritime Organisation. A conference was held on 13th February 2012 at the Ministry of Defence (the Armed Forces’ Operations Division) to discuss the way to deal with arms on board vessels at the end of which, the following recommendations/conclusions were reached:
1. Agents must present a declaration for transiting vessels if weapons are on board, including the following information.
Details of the weapons/ammunitions on board commercial vessels (calibre, weapon serial number, number of weapons and number of ammunitions)
Details and nationalities of the security personnel (armed guards) on board the vessel
That the weapons/ammunitions on board are in a sealed box until transit of the canal is completed.
2. That all persons abide by Egyptian rules that cover the use of private security companies and personnel for safeguarding commercial vessels. These are as follows: In cases of existence of arms on board vessels calling at Egyptian Ports The Master should seal the weapons and issue a certificate to present to the pilot at the anchorage area
. This certificate will include the Master’s declaration that he will deliver to the Port Police on completion of mooring operations, the weapons in a sealed box. After an inspection by the Port Police the box and weapons will be given back to the Master on departure. In cases of abstention The vessel shall not be allowed to enter the port with weapons. In cases of existence of arms on board vessels transiting the Suez Canal The Civil Police (Port Security Department) shall take delivery of the weapons transiting the Suez Canal at the entering point and will transport them inland to be redelivered to the vessel’s crew at the exit point of the Suez Canal. In cases where weapons are deployed on board the vessels during their stay in territorial waters, berthing in sea ports, stays in waiting areas at inner or outer anchorage and/or during transiting the Suez Canal, the Masters will be held accountable according to Egyptian laws. This will include detaining the ships/Masters/persons carrying the arms without a permit and will be subjected to the law No. 394/1954 as amended concerning arms’ and ammunitions’ carriage and possession without a licence. They will be referred to the competent general prosecution (parquet) pending its decision following issuance of an apprehension police report by the competent department.
We advise our Members who operate in these areas to ensure their operations departments and ships’ crews are fully aware of the requirements. It appears that under the present situation, security measures are being amplified to ensure that no arms are smuggled into the country and that all arms passing through Egyptian waters are fully secured by the different authorities to avoid any risk of these arms falling into the hands of criminals.
Source of information : Maritime Transport Sector (MTS) courtesy of www.eldibpandi.com
(source: the Shipowners’ Club)