India Backing Guards

India is ready to give the green light for ships to carry armed guards in an effort to counter piracy.

The Ministry of Home Affairs could pass the law within the next couple of weeks, according to Sunil Thapar of the Shipping Corp India.

Thapar, director of the state-owned company’s bulk carrier and tanker division, told the Wall Street Journal: “The ministry is veering towards placing armed guards on board.”

He added:“Pirates have captured ships. They are using them as mother ships. Those are ocean-going vessels and they are able to go further out into the sea and get as close as about 180 miles off the Indian coast.”

Armed guards have proved effective in fighting off pirate attacks but not all companies and nations support the move.

Hanoz Mistri, vice-president at Five Stars Bulk Carriers, told the newspaper: “What happens if a suspected pirate is shot at? Would there be human rights issues? What if I accidentally shoot at a fishing vessel?”

“Arming ships is a good idea, but I wouldn’t want to engage in a confrontation.”

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