National governments along the eastern rim of the Indian Ocean are beginning to regulate the activities of private maritime security contractors (PMSC), as a court in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu sentenced the crew of the MV Seaman Guard Ohio to five years hard labour.
The vessel (pictured above in Singapore in 2012) was seized and 35 persons arrested for unauthorised entrance into Indian waters while in possession of firearms and illegally purchasing 400 gallons of diesel from a local agent on 13 October 2013.
The incident came at a time when the maritime High Risk Area in the Indian Ocean extended to the west coast of India, following the spread of piracy into the East Arabian Sea.
In November 2015 the Sri Lankan government launched a crackdown on floating armouries used by private maritime security companies operating in its waters.
As a result of which one company saw its license for an armoury revoked and the seizure of all stories and arms by the Sri Lankan Navy.
The extension of the eastern limit of the HRA led to security concerns due to the presence of private security personnel onboard merchant vessels transiting the piracy HRA and floating armouries off the Indian coast.
US-based owner of the MV Seaman Guard Ohio, AdvanFort, sought to quash criminal proceedings in 2014 contending that the ship was seized while it was outside Indian territorial waters. The company stated all firearms were properly purchased and documented and the crew were forced to refuel following Cyclone Phailin.
An Indian Ministry of Defence official ....Read more in ShephardMedia