Privately armed security personnel

Privately contracted armed security personnel must be licensed

Maritime security companies need a licence for the deployment of privately contracted armed security personnel on board of seagoing ships under the German flag. The responsible authority for issuance of such a licence is the Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle (BAFA, Federal Office of Economics and Export Control) in co-operation with the German federal police. Security companies have to contact solely the BAFA.

You can find further information on the licencing procedure by the BAFAon their website under the heading "Frequently asked questions".

A list of currently licensed security companies is also available on BAFA's website under the heading "Application Procedure".

Legal permit for carrying weapons for security companies

In addition to their a. m. licence all security companies need a permit for carrying weapons  (weapons permit) according to section 28a of the German weapons act (Waffenbesitzkarte).

For further information and contact details please refer to the website of BAFA under Licence under Weapons Act (under the heading "Application Procedure").

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Addendum to the ship security plan of the ship

The deployment of privately contracted armed security personnel on board of a ship under the German flag requires an approved addendum to the ship security plan according to the German See-Eigensicherungsverordnung (ordinance on shipboard security measures). Such approval is granted to the shipping company or an other company by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH); its maximum period of validity is two years and it shall insure that:

  • Only privately contracted armed personnel of security companies approved by the BAFA are deployed on board, and
  • The „Interim guidance to shipowners, ship operators and shipmasters on the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships in the High Risk Area“ (MSC.1/Circ. 1405/Rev.2) is observed.

Follow the links for

You have to personally sign the application form for the approval of the addendum to the SSP, but you can subsequently scan and e-mail it to the BSH.

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Reporting obligations

The deployment of privately contracted armed security personnel on board of ships under the German flag must be reported to the German Point of Contact (PoC) in Cuxhaven. Furthermore, shipping companies are obliged to report their ships passing sea areas under piracy threat (sea areas of security levels 2 or 3) to the established international reporting systems (MSCHOA, UKMTO).

For further information please refer to our page on Reporting Obligations.

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