19 Mar 2013

International Transport, Trade & Energy, Armed Security to Combat Piracy: The Position in South Africa

Practice Area(s): Shipping & Logistics |

Some confusion has arisen in recent times with the Head of the South African Navy having stated in various forums that in the future private security contractors would not be allowed to operate in South Africa.  It was said that any armed anti-piracy patrols or services would be conducted by naval forces. The movement of arms and ammunition through South Africa by private contractors for the purpose of boarding vessels or disembarking from such vessels in South Africa would therefore no longer be allowed.

Despite what has been said, the position for the moment has remained unchanged.

It is currently possible for security teams to join or disembark from vessels in South Africa  and to arrange for temporary permits for the possession of arms and ammunition and their transit to and from vessels. The relevant authorities have not been advised of any imminent change to this policy.

It is, however, essential that the necessary permits are obtained 21 days prior to the vessel arriving in a South African port.  The 21 day rule can be relaxed on good cause being shown, provided the authorities are approached as soon as is reasonably possible after a decision has been made that the vessel will call in South Africa.