Updates to GUARDCON guidance to reinforce importance of validating firearms EUCs


Updating guidance notes for GUARDCON.

BIMCO press release

BIMCO updates GUARDCON guidance notes to reinforce importance of validating firearms end user certificates.

BIMCO, the world’s largest international shipping association, has today voiced serious concerns about the apparently sizeable number of private maritime security firms (PMSCs) that are operating on ships without legitimate permits and licences to transport and carry weapons.

BIMCO has been made aware that some PMSCs are using weapons “rented” or “borrowed” from other security companies. This is an illegal practice because the weapons are not legitimately licenced to the end user. It is being done to save on operating costs to undercut legitimately operated PMSCs.

To drive home the importance of validating end user licences BIMCO has updated the guidance on Clause 10 of GUARDCON to clarify the responsibilities of owners and contractors in respect of permits and licences. Under a number of recognised international conventions, the firearms End User Certificate (EUC) has to be officially authorised by a government agency from the exporting country. The conventions also require the ship’s flag state to verify the authenticity of the EUC before issuing letters of authority (to allow the ship to have the weapons on board). The consequences for owners whose flag state fails to verify the authenticity of firearms EUCs before issuing letters of authority could be significant delays to the ship or even ship detentions.

Giles Noakes, Head of Maritime Security at BIMCO, said:

“This is an extremely important issue for the industry and parties should take very careful note of the legal obligations under GUARDCON for the carriage of firearms on board merchant ships.

“Flag states have an essential role to play in verifying the EUCs of private maritime security companies to ensure that everyone complies with the legal framework.”


For more details, please contact Gemma Wilkie, Communications Director at BIMCO on:

(Direct) +45 4436 6836, (Mobile) +45 2442 9781 or pr@bimco.org.

Notes to Editors

  • BIMCO is the world’s largest international shipping association, with 2,200 members in around 130 countries.
  • We provide a wide range of services to our global membership – which includes shipowners, operators, managers, brokers and agents.
  • BIMCO’s core objective is to facilitate the commercial operations of our members by developing standard contracts and clauses, and providing quality information, advice and education.
  • BIMCO promotes fair business practices, free trade and open access to markets and we are a strong advocate for the harmonisation and standardisation of all shipping related activity.
  • BIMCO actively promotes the application of globally agreed regulatory instruments – we are accredited as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) with all relevant United Nations agencies and other regulatory entities.


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