Standard Club Atlantic Syndicate director Sam Kendall-Marsden said that the contract would “provide certainty” as well as making it “simpler and quicker” for shipowners hiring Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) for anti-piracy detail in West Africa.
“The International Group clubs participated in drafting the original Bimco Guardcon contract,” Kendall-Marsden explained. “It has become the industry-standard for the employment of private maritime security companies, harmonising terms of engagement.”
However, Bimco’s original Guardcon contract was designed for PMSCs operating in East African waters, and has since advised against its use off West Africa due to key operational differences. Many West African countries prohibit foreign guards carrying firearms on board merchant vessels within their territorial waters, so owners are forced to hire locals.
The new draft amends key facets of the contract, enabling its use in the region.
“Whilst Bimco’s recommended amendments were a useful step, we thought it would be helpful for shipowners if there were a contract that incorporates recommended amendments,” said Kendall-Marsden. “Guardcon West Africa does this and it is approved by all of the International Group clubs.”