British merchant ships sailing off the coast of Somalia will soon be able to carry armed guards to ward off pirate attacks, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday.
Britain is one of only a few countries with major shipping fleets to currently ban armed guards on its vessels, alongside the likes of Japan, Greece and the Netherlands.
However, owners of ships from other countries are increasingly putting guards onboard as national navies struggle to combat Somali piracy in the vast Indian Ocean, a problem which is costing the world economy billions of dollars a year.
In an interview with the BBC, Cameron said that Britain now planned to license guards to carry firearms on ships.
"The evidence is that ships with armed guards don't get attacked, don't get taken for hostage or for ransom and so we think this is a very important step forward," Cameron said.
The other question in my mind is; whose bright idea was it to disarm the merchant ships in the first place?