The US government is considering a Piracy Suppression Act, which has been approved by the Transportation Committee. The Act is designed to protect equipment, freight or commodities being shipped on behalf of the government. Vessels carrying government cargo will be authorised to carry armed guards when steaming in dangerous waters.
The government will reimburse the owners or operators for the cost of providing armed personnel: the Act will also provide training for seafarers on how to use force against pirates. This will include firearms safety training for crew members of ships carrying government freight.
Pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden/Indian Ocean region increased dramatically over the first six months of 2011: according to figures from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), there were 266 attacks on vessels in the period, compared with 196 last year.