To deter piracy against its ships, the Swedish government has hired security staff armed with battle rifles to help protect ships as they pass the horn of Africa.
“This is no development which we would have liked to see, but we have unfortunately felt forced to act,” said Peter Jodin, maritime safety manager at the Wallenius shipping company, to Sveriges Radio’s Ekot news program.
The Swedish Shipowners’ Association (Sveriges Redareförening) expressed their support for Wallenius’ position on Friday.
“This method is unfortunately the best available and I fully understand that they have done so,” said association president Håkan Friberg.
Friberg added that security matters are currently a decision for the shipping lines themselves.
“It’s entirely up to the shipping companies today, they make an assessment based on the safety of the crew and the security of cargo owners,” he said.
The association changed position on the issue last winter following a series of brutal attacks on vessels passing the coast of Somalia, choosing to align themselves with companies wanting to hire armed security forces.
Rival Swedish shipping line, Stena Bulk, began deploying armed guards on vessels entering the hazardous area over six months ago.
“We chose early on to do so and were among the first shipping companies in the world to take the decision,” said Stena Bulk CEO Ulf Ryder.
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