Cabinet approves armed security for ships
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Cabinet yesterday approved revisions to the Fisheries Act and the Law of Ships, allowing offshore fishing vessels or transportation ships to employ onboard, armed security personnel.
March 15, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
The revisions come as a response to the tragedy that saw the captain of a Taiwanese fishing boat, which was occupied by Somali pirates, killed by U.S. naval forces in 2011, when the vessel was mistakenly regarded as a pirate ship.
According to the draft, when European Union officials came to Taiwan in 2011 to exchange views on how to jointly combat pirating, 13 countries, including the U.S., United Kingdom, and European nations, had already legalized employment of armed guards to protect cargo and the lives of crew aboard offshore fishing vessels, and that the legalization has worked well in this regard.
Owners of offshore fishing and transportation vessels will have to obtain permission from authorities to become eligible for hiring private armed officers, but such personnel won't be allowed to enter any other R.O.C. territories than the one their vessels serve, the revisions state.
If any offshore boat employs armed security personnel without prior permission from the government, its owner will be subject to a fine between NT$60,000 to NT$300,000, compared to the corresponding fine of NT$500,000 to NT$3 million for an offshore transportation ship.
The revisions await a vote by the Legislature before they become law.