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Customs requirements concerning the control of firearms on board ships

At the Council Sessions in June 2011 the Observer for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) raised the issue of the increasing threat to the maritime part of the supply chain of piracy and armed robbery, particularly off the coast of Somalia.

In response to this threat, a number of States are considering the use of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) on board their ships which is raising complex legal issues.

The IMO requested the Customs community to provide details of Customs-related aspects of the carriage, embarkation and disembarkation of firearms and security equipment.

The WCO Secretariat subsequently submitted a short questionnaire to Customs administrations with the hope that the replies will assist the IMO in developing further guidance for its Members.