US Coast Guard releases new rules to safeguard ships

May 14th, 2009 - 7:03 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 14 (Xinhua) The US Coast Guard has released new rules for US-flagged ships passing through the piracy infested areas, including the Gulf of Aden and Malacca Strait.
“The Coast Guard worked to put together the new directive taking on the recent lessons learned and best practices of mariners,” Coast Guard spokesman Lieutenant Commander Chris O ‘Neil said Wednesday.

According to the Coast Guard, the guidelines apply to US ships transiting the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden, the Malacca Strait, and the Philippines.

The new measures urged captains of the US-flagged ships to arrange lookout and remain alert against pirates with water hoses and high-speed maneuvers.

The piracy issue was put under spotlight after a US-flagged Danish cargo boat was attacked last month off the Somalia coast, leading to a several-day standoff between the US military and pirates.

The US government and the military urged for a new strategy to protect the US-flagged vessels from being attacked by pirates, including hiring armed guards on boats, but shipping industry concerned that some countries would not allow armed vessels to enter their ports.

O’Neil did not specify if the directive requires any security teams, armed or unarmed, to be deployed on the ships.

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