France decided to permit security teams to defend the shipping fleet against Gulf pirates. The government took this decision because France is a main participant to the international navy teams patrolling the Gulf of Aden and part of the Indian Ocean in order to block pirate gangs coming from Somalia.
More and more European countries took the decision to allow private security teams on board the ships, France hopes that with this decision the French merchant fleet would become more competitive and secured against attacks. The French authorities were asked from many French companies to allow this effective way preventing pirate attacks.
According to the new law, private guards will be allowed to carry weapons. Before France many countries including Britain, Germany and the United States took this necessary step in the fight against the organized pirate gangs, only allowed for ships sailing under their country flag. There are different opinions about this important step securing the merchant ships. There are no official regulations for using weapons agains pirates.
Pirate attacks in the Somali region were reduced dramatically with the international patrolling. Many French ships became an easy target in the Gulf of Guinea where are the ex colonies of the country. For example in June a French-owned tanker sailing under Luxembourg-flag was hijacked by suspected Nigerian pirates off Ivory Coast. A French sailor was lucky to be rescued.
French shipowners are glad to see that their petition was finally gave an adequate result.
The country depends on oil import from the French merchant fleet tankers. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said:
"The challenge today is to require oil importers into France to do so at least partially under the French flag,"
"It's fundamental for our energy security. In order to secure our energy supply, we cannot rely entirely on foreign fleets."
The French economy is required by law to to have enough stock of crude and fuel products equivalent to 90 days of consumption in case something bad with the import happens. This law is made in order this transport capacity to be secured and the French import needs not to be put in danger. The country's shipping community will definitely benefit from the situation. In the moment ten crude oil tankers and 19 refined oil products transporters are French-flagged.