To prevent or protect the vessel against acts of terrorism and piracy, armed guards may be employed following a risk assessment and a consultation with the master.
It is the company that makes the decision on the use of privately contracted armed security personnel. The company also has an obligation to make a careful assessment of the suitability of the security firm and the guards. The company must consider and, as far as possible, follow IMO guidelines for the selection and use of privately contracted armed security personnel.

Documentation requirement

Before armed guards are taken on board, the company must inform the Norwegian Maritime Authority by submitting the following documentation:

  1. A statement demonstrating why the industry’s guideline preventive measures are deemed insufficient and that there is a need for armed guards.
  2. An assessment of the suitability of the security firm and the guards, documented with the security firm's procedures for the recruitment and training of personnel.
  3. Procedures for the procurement, use, maintenance, storage and transportation of equipment, including firearms and ammunition, relevant to the assignment in question.
  4. Confirmation that the guards hold the necessary qualifications and have completed necessary training, including firearms training, for the assignment in question.

The documentation has to be submitted to as soon as the need for armed guards is concluded. The documentation must also be stored on board.

For privacy protection reasons, we request that you do not submit any passports or other documentation containing personal information about the guards.  The captain or shipping company should only submit a document confirming that the requirement of section 20 (2) (b) (4) that the guards are at least 18 years of age, can identify themselves and can submit a recently issued certificate of good conduct […] has been verified and documented.

To reduce the amount of documentation required when submitting notifications of planned use of armed guards, shipping companies that use the same security firm over time may send the firm's procedures to the NMA. The NMA will then send the company a case number, which may be used the next time the company uses the same security firm. However, information that varies from time to time shall be submitted together with the notification that armed guards will be taken on board.

The NMA has prepared a form that can be used as a checklist to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Regulations. The completed checklist can be submitted to the Norwegian Maritime Authority along with other documents.

Norwegian authorities do not provide approvals for security firms, but the NMA may, where necessary, confirm having no objections to the use of specific security firms.
If the Norwegian Maritime Authority becomes aware that a specific security firm cannot be regarded as suitable for use on Norwegian-registered ships, the Norwegian Maritime Authority shall be permitted to decide that companies are not permitted to use the company in question.

Firearm permit

Companies considering bringing armed guards on board its ships must first apply for a firearm permit pursuant to section 5-8 of the Firearms Regulations. The company may apply for a permit even if no decision has been made to conclude a contract with a specific security firm for the purchase of armed guard services. The application must be submitted to the chief of police in the police district in which the company or the operating company has its head office, or the police district in which the local representative of the owner has its registered address.