By means of Legal Notice 19 of 2013, the Government of Malta issued regulations regulating the carriage and use of firearms and ammunition on board Maltese Ships by Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel, also known as PCASP.
The legal notice has been promulgated as a Subsidiary Legislation to the Arms Act and has been entitled General Authorisation (Protective Security Measures on Board Ships) Regulations, S.L. 480.04.
When a placement of a PCASP is considered on board a Maltese vessel, prior authorisation would need to be sought from the Merchant Shipping Directorate at the Authority for Transport in Malta. It is important to note that these Regulations may only be applied when navigating or operating or planning to navigate or operate in a High Risk Area. Areas defined as High Risk Area are established from time to time by the Registrar General of the Merchant Shipping Directorate.
When submitting an application for a PCASP on board the ship owner must ensure amongst other that:
- All firearms and equipment are to be accompanied by all required documentation necessary for their legitimate use by the PCASP;
- Documentary evidence in respect of the firearms shall be made available as and when required;
- Firearms shall be stored, at all times, in a safe manner;
- Firearms and ammunition are not to be handled by the ship’s crew or anybody else other than the PCASP.
Ship owners are reminded that firearms on board Maltese Ships, which falls outside the scope of this Regulation, may lead to the deletion of the vessel from the Maltese registry.
Malta has united with other shipping states in the battle against piracy and crime on the high seas, however the Merchant Shipping Directorate will be examining each application thoroughly and applications are accepted on a case by case basis subject to rigorous procedures being followed.