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Posting of armed guards needs fine tuning: Shipping secretary

Tuesday, 21 February 2012 | 11:00
India will ask the global shipping community to 'fine-tune' practices adopted while deploying armed guards on merchant vessels in the backdrop of the Enrica Lexie case.
"Already there are good practices evolved by global shipping industry to ensure that armed guards on private vessels use force in a very restrained manner. This (killing of unarmed fishermen by the Italian marines) may be a stray case as there are no similar incidents reported from anywhere in the world. But we need to fine tune those practices and ensure that such incidents do not recur,'' shipping secretary K Mohandas told TOI here.
"There are reports that the mariners did not follow the prescribed practices. Of course, we can come to the final conclusions only after a full investigation. We don't want to make any hasty statements. Even though India is not a big player in the global shipping industry, the incident will serve as a reminder for ship security staff as to why they should proceed cautiously in such a situation,'' he said.
Pointing out that this incident was the first of its kind in recent maritime history, commander in charge of the coast guard station DIG T K S Chandran, said the incident should be an eye opener as it lays bare the risks involved while deploying armed guards on merchant vessels.
"It is certainly heartening that we could intercept them quickly and a major milestone has been achieved with the detention of those involved in the crime.
But it is crucial that the case is taken to its logical conclusion by following the law of the land. Then it will be a real lesson to all who deploy such forces on board the vessels," he said.
Source: TNN
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