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Access_open Armed On-board Protection of Italian Ships: From an Apparent Hybrid Model to a Regulated Rise of Private Contractors

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2018
Keywords maritime security services, Italian hybrid system, military and private personnel, use of force, relation with the shipmaster
Authors Giorgia Bevilacqua
AbstractAuthor's information

    The sharp increase of piracy attacks in the last two decades was followed by a parallel increase of demand in the maritime security sector. A plenty of flag States around the world have started to authorize the deployment of armed security guards, either military or private, aboard commercial ships. In 2011, Italy also introduced the possibility of embarking armed security services to protect Italian flagged ships sailing in dangerous international waters. Like the other flag States’ legal systems, the newly adopted Italian legislation aims to preserve the domestic shipping industry which was particularly disrupted by modern-day pirates. On the other hand, the doubling of approaches of the Italian legal and regulatory framework, initially privileging military personnel and then opting for the private solution, took the author to investigate the main relevant features of the Italian model of regulation and to analyze the recent developments of the domestic legal practice on counterpiracy armed security services, focusing on the role that customary and treaty obligations of international law played for the realization at national level of on-board armed protection of Italian ships. The use of lethal force at sea and the relationship between the shipmaster and the security guards will receive specific attention in this article.


Giorgia Bevilacqua
Researcher at the UniversitĂ  degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli.
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