日本船警備法案 海賊対策強化へ早期成立を

[The Yomiuri Shimbun] April 9, 2013
Enact antipiracy law soon to protect nation’s access to vital sea lanes
日本船警備法案 海賊対策強化へ早期成立を(4月8日付・読売社説)

It is vitally important for Japan, a trading nation, to secure the safety of sea lanes stretching all the way from the Middle East, the main artery for the transportation of energy resources to this country.

The government has submitted to the Diet a bill concerning special measures that would allow armed security guards from the private sector to board Japanese tankers and other types of vessels to protect them from pirates off Somalia.

Pirates have expanded their sphere of activity in recent years, and the areas where pirates’ attacks have been reported have spread to the Arabian Sea and the northern Indian Ocean.

The use of private-sector security guards is an effective tool to cover those areas, where the Maritime Self-Defense Force cannot escort ships. Therefore, it is necessary to get the bill passed into law as quickly as possible.

The bill enables private-sector security guards armed with rifles to board Japanese flag carriers though in limited waters such as the Arabian Sea, a hot spot for piracy.

If enacted, the law would require maritime shipping companies that own the vessels to draw up a security plan in advance and have it approved by the transport minister.

Major countries already have armed security guards aboard their ships. But private-sector security guards cannot carry firearms aboard Japanese flag carriers, which are subject to the Firearms and Sword Control Law.

Firearms would be controlled

According to the bill, the ship’s captain would normally keep the firearms under his management and hand them over to the security guards if the ship is pursued by a suspicious vessel, thus enabling them to fire warning shots or fire at the vessel’s body.

The bill assumes as an example that a team of four security guards working for a British security company boards a ship off Saudi Arabia or Oman, and gets off the ship off Sri Lanka after completing its mission. Shipping companies would bear the cost of hiring the guards.

Such an arrangement would be appropriate as it would be compatible with the Firearms and Swords Control Law, by not allowing firearms to be brought into Japanese territory.

The number of reported incidents of piracy off Somalia surpassed the 200 mark every year from 2009 to 2011, but it dropped to 75 last year and totaled four as of the end of last month for this year.

The sharp decline is believed to have much to do with the self-defense measures taken by ships themselves and the patrolling activities of the naval forces of the countries concerned.

Efforts highly regarded

Japan’s MSDF vessels have escorted more than 2,900 vessels, including foreign ones, providing escorts on about 450 occasions since 2009 in the Gulf of Aden. Meanwhile, P3C patrol planes have provided Japanese and foreign vessels with information on suspicious vessels in at least 7,600 cases through about 870 flights.

The MSDF has accounted for about 60 percent of the total number of patrol flights and assumed a leading role in anti-piracy measures taken by the international community, winning high regard for its efforts. We hope the MSDF continues to steadily fulfill its mission.

For truly effective antipiracy measures, however, it is essential for Somalia to enhance its law-enforcement capabilities and for those coastal states of the Gulf of Aden, including Yemen, to improve their maritime security capabilities.

Japan, through international organizations, has offered financial assistance and technical guidance to improve public safety in Somalia and establish a maritime security training center in Djibouti.

It is important for Japan to continue its assistance to these nations, in cooperation with countries concerned.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 8, 2013)
(2013年4月8日01時14分 読売新聞)


srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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