In the first killing of its kind, private security contractors shot dead a Somali pirate in a clash that left two skiffs riddled with bullet holes, officials said March 24. The killing raises questions over who has jurisdiction over a growing army of armed guards on merchant ships flying flags from many nations. There’s currently no regulation of private security on board ships, no guidelines about who is responsible in case of an attack, and no industry-wide standards, said piracy expert Roger Middleton from the British think tank Chatham House. “There’s no guarantee of the quality of individuals you are going to get,” said Middleton. “If you’re a shipping company, then that could be legally concerning. It’s also concerning to everyone if you have individuals with guns and not much oversight out on the seas.” The exact circumstances of the shooting are unclear, but the European Union Naval Force said guards were on board the Panama-flagged MV Almezaan when a pirate group approached it twice. An EU Naval Force frigate was dispatched to the scene and launched a helicopter that located the pirates. (AP)

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