Eos Risk Management Ltd is one of only seven maritime security companies to receive official approval from the UK Home Office for Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968.
This gives them legal authorisation to use prohibited weapons on-board UK flagged vessels transiting through High Risk Areas (HRA). These weapons are self-loading and must only be handled by highly trained and qualified personnel as part of a counter-piracy strategy.
Eos underwent 6 months of stringent auditing for this approval so that they can provide armed protection to UK shipping operating in dangerous waters.
This top-level approval is subject to periodic checks to ensure that the correct procedures are adhered to and robust measures are in place to safeguard the use of prohibited weapons.
Section 5 The Firearms Act 1968
The Firearms Act 1968 governs the possession and use of firearms in the UK and in the case of merchant shipping, vessels that are registered with the British Flag Administration. There are restrictions controlling their use that protect the general public and reduce the potential for incidence of firearm related crime. These include a new category of Section 5 Firearms Dealer Licence covering professional companies engaged in Maritime Piracy Suppression, engaged on operations on-board British registered merchant ships.
The Home Office Secretary of State has approved the ownership by Eos, and use of prohibited weapons by authorised employees of the Company. They are permitted to use these weapons in accordance with the rules of force agreed with shipping companies and the Master’s authority.
All authorised employees such as armed security teams have to complete the mandatory checks and await official clearance before they take possession of these prohibited weapons.
The possession and use of firearms is an issue of national security for the UK. Public safety is paramount: hence, the need for rigid guidelines to control ownership of weapons including self-loading weapons that pose a risk to the safety and wellbeing of UK citizens.
There is always the danger of firearms falling into the wrong hands, where they are used for criminal purposes or sold on the black market. This is why the UK has strict laws governing their possession and use that equally applies to UK flagged shipping. Coupled with strong export control and the unique Maritime Anti-Piracy Licence issued from BIS, a UK Government Dept. the UK has the strongest and most robust international framework to prevent the proliferation and use of firearms internationally. Eos is proud to adhere to this very strict regime and approval by the Home Office to Section 5 is a testament to the equally as robust internal controls operated by the Company.
The Home Office allows the use of prohibited weapons on-board UK flagged vessels for the prevention of piracy. Records to be kept of all transactions and the weapons held in a secure location when not in use.
The Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, the Right Honourable Damian Green, signed off this government approval.
David Johnson Chief Executive Officer for Eos commented: “At a time of global instability, where the proliferation of arms is a serious problem, it is a strong indication that the controls in place within Eos meet the high standards required by the British state. Ships sailing in the British merchant fleet now have one more option for professional maritime security to protect them against the growing scourge of maritime piracy. We have been asked for many months when we will be able to provide our services to the UK fleet by clients who needed our services. Eos is fortunate that our internal controls, coupled with assistance from our local MP William Cash, and the diligent work from the Government has ensured this valuable licence. As a Company we will work within this and the many other regulatory frameworks we are subject to, to ensure that the World’s shipping fleets are protected.”