Section 5 authorisation to protect UK-registered ships: guidance to applicants

Outlines the authorisation process on the use of armed guards on UK-registered ships.


Guidance to applicants for section 5 authorisation to protect UK-registered ships

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


The policy to allow the use of armed guards applies only in exceptional circumstances to ships transiting the area at risk of attack by pirates.

The use of armed guards must be assessed to reduce the risk to the lives and well-being of those onboard the ship.

Published 25 April 2012
Last updated 1 December 2015 + show all updates
  1. Updated chapter 30 published.
  2. First published.