12 April 2012 – 08:19
By Shaun Ryan
There is a possibility that foreign security companies could be brought into South Africa to protect merchant ships from pirates.
Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says the government is considering the proposal of allowing armed guards into our waters.
She says however it would need to be debated before being given the green-light.
Sisulu has been speaking at an Indian Ocean naval symposium in Cape Town.
She says maritime security is a concern, as at present only the South African navy is responsible for the protection of all vessels off the country’s coastline.
Representatives from more than 30 Indian Ocean navies are attending the symposium.
One of their main challenges is how to tackle the ongoing problem of piracy.
SA Navy’s Bernhard Teuteberg says there is currently a good working relationship between the Southern African navies, who are working to prevent piracy from spreading further south.
“We are operating especially on the east coast of Southern Africa, with other navies and with other forces in order to ensure that piracy does not move in a southerly direction and disrupt our commercial traffic,” he said.