Floating Armouries in the Indian Ocean

Ioannis Chapsos, Paul Holtom

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    There has not been a successful pirate attack off the coast of Somalia since 2012, but the shipping industry’s demand for anti-piracy measures remains high. Indeed, this demand has resulted in an increase in registered maritime private security companies (PSCs) from 56 in 2010 to more than 400 in 2014. In 2013, private armed guards were on board roughly 35–40 per cent of the estimated 65,922 merchant vessels transiting across the Indian Ocean’s ‘high-risk area’ (HRA). One of the major challenges for maritime PSCs that provide anti-piracy services for merchant vessels transiting the HRA is moving their arms and ammunition between coastal states that prohibit or have restrictions on vessels with arms on board. Floating armouries have emerged to overcome this challenge. There is a lack of information on the number of floating armouries, their use, the number of arms they store, and related physical security and stockpile management practices. This chapter introduces the types of vessels used as floating armouries and their services. It provides an overview of some of the nascent—and potential—approaches to regulating floating armouries to ensure safe and secure practices.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSmall Arms Survey 2015
    Subtitle of host publicationWeapons and the World
    Place of PublicationCambridge, UK
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Number of pages26
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-107-69067-7, 978-1-107-04198-1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Floating Armoury
    • Private Maritime Security Company
    • maritime piracy
    • maritime security


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