Notice to Shipowners, Ship Operators, Managers, Masters, Owners’ Representatives and Recognised Organisations by the Merchant Shipping Directorate.

The Directorate would like to draw the attention of all concerned to the publication of the General Authorisation (Protective Security Measures on board Ships) Regulations, 2013, Legal Notice 19 of 2013. The Regulations regulate the carriage and use of firearms and ammunition on board Maltese ships by Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP).

In accordance with the Regulations, the Directorate may consider to authorise the placement of PCASP onboard Maltese ships operating in a High Risk Area (HRA). When the shipowner1 considers the placement of PCASP, prior authorisation needs to be obtained from the Directorate.

Applications shall be submitted to the Merchant Shipping Directorate on the enclosed form to [email protected]. All applications shall be accompanied by a Voyage Plan and Crew List for the duration of the stay of the PCASP onboard. When submitting an application for consideration, the shipowner is undertaking that:

i. the Ship Security Plan is developed and updated with the Ship Security Assessment considering that the ship is operating in a HRA;

ii. the provisions of these circulars and shipping notices have been considered and applied:

a. MSC.1/Circ.1405/Rev.2;
b. MSC.1/Circ.1339;
c. Merchant Shipping Notice 71;
d. Merchant Shipping Notice 82;

iii. the master of the ship retains overall responsibility for the safety and the security of the ship;

iv. the embarkation of additional personnel is in line with the requirements concerning safety equipment onboard and crew accommodation requirements;

v. all firearms and ammunitions are removed from the vessel when PCASP disembark;

vi. all firearms and ammunitions are not to be deployed from the designated secure keeping in sea areas which are not defined as ‘High Risk Area’;

vii. the national requirements regarding firearms in coastal and port States are complied with;

viii. the PCASP are:

a. qualified for providing the service for which they are being engaged;
b. qualified in the use of the firearms being taken onboard;
c. in possession of certificates for the four elements of basic training, namely:

Personal survival techniques (STCW A-VI/1-1);
Fire fighting and fire prevention (STCW A-VI/1-2);
Elementary first aid (STCW A-VI/1-3); and
Personal safety and social responsibility (STCW A-VI/1-4);

ix. any details or documents required shall immediately be made available at the request of the Maltese competent Authority.

To this effect, shipowners of Malta flagged ships are required to abide with Legal Notice 19 of 2013 and the provisions of this Notice when planning their operations and, to extend their full cooperation for their enforcement.

The shipping community is reminded that without prejudice to the penalties contemplated in the said regulations, the use of firearms on Maltese ships, without prior authorisation may be considered as being against the interest of Malta and of Maltese shipping and may lead, inter alia, to closure of registry.

The electronic copy of Legal Notice 19 of 2013 can be downloaded from

For further details, contact us on:

Tel: (00356) 21 651387
Fax: (00356) 21 651384
Email: [email protected]