Floating Armouries

We underwent our BIS Compliance Visit last week as part of the requirements of holding a UK Trade Control Licence such as the OGTCL (Maritime Security). Given the nature of the items being controlled (i.e. weapons and associated equipment) it is not surprising that such a visit is a detailed affair.

I am pleased to say that our company’s firearms records were found to be in order and we passed the review. However, an interesting point was raised by the Compliance Officer as part of the discussions.

It would seem that BIS (the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills) which regulates the issue and compliance of Trade Control Licences has reviewed the current Maritime Industry’s use of so-called ‘Floating Armouries’. The decision that BIS has reached is that such armouries are not approved by BIS and they do not support their use by Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs).

I was told that letters are to be distributed to PMSCs informing them of this decision and warning them that the continued use of such ‘Floating Armouries’ could result in the revoking of a company’s Trade Control Licence which would directly impinge on their ability to operate.

This is likely to affect a large number of PMSCs who rely on their use of ‘Floating Armouries’. Apart from the direct effect on UK-based companies I have also seen an article that suggests that UK Trade Control rules may also affect other companies that utilise British personnel.

I am sure that this will become the subject of some debate.

Alan Taylor,
Commercial Director,
Spirit Security Services Ltd

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