BIMCO Launches Standard Armed Guard Contract

BIMCO’s Guardcon standard contract for employing security guards on vessels is now live, taking a lead in giving shipowners and private maritime security companies guidance on employment and use of security guards, with or without firearms, on merchant vessels.

Although BIMCO does not want armed security guards to become an institution on board ships, it recognises that while the industry waits for a permanent long-term solution, armed guards deter pirate attacks.

BIMCO chief officer legal and contractual affairs Grant Hunter said the shipping association had launched the contract to meet demand from the industry.

“In the absence of a standard contract for these services, shipowners and their P&I Clubs are currently faced with the difficult and time-consuming task of assessing large numbers of contracts from these security companies, all with varying terms and conditions,” he said.

“Guardcon’s objective is to create a contractual benchmark for the employment of security services so that minimum levels of insurance cover for PMSCs are established and that adequate safeguards are put in place to ensure that liabilities and responsibilities are properly addressed and that all necessary permits and licenses are obtained.”

Guardcon has been drafted in over three months by a small team of shipowners, underwriters, P&I Clubs and lawyers that comprised chairman Tor Langrud of Wilhelmsen, Norway; Daniel Carr of Stolt-Nielsen, US; Chris South of West of England P&I Club; Andrew Moulton of Ascot Underwriters; Stephen Askins of Ince & Co and Elinor Dautlich of Holman Fenwick Willan.

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