India mulling using services of armed guards in merchant vessels

India was contemplating utilising services of armed guards from Para Military force for security duty on board merchant vessels, Union Shipping Secretary K Mohandas said today.

A decision in this regard was likely to be taken soon, he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

No ships with armed guards has been taken hostage, he said.

Several vessels, flying Indian flags, were presently relying on security agencies employing foreign nationals in piracy infested waters, Mohandas said.

Inquiry by Mercantile Marine Department on the shooting of two Indian fishermen by Italian naval guards off Kerala coast would be completed in two weeks, he said.
India's stand in the shooting would be made before court of law, he said, adding, this was not the right time to comment about the incident.

Director General of Shipping S B Agnihotri said there were also plans to move vessels through the Gulf of Eden in convoys.

With incidents of piracy in Indian waters decreasing, India would make a fresh bid to file appeal before the London based Joint War Committee, a body of Insurance under writers, to exclude the country's exclusive economic zone from the war zone notification.

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