Mauritius gave the go-ahead yesterday for its ships to carry armed security guards to deter attacks in the Indian Ocean's pirate-infested waters.
"Looking at the size of Mauritius' exclusive economic zone [around one million sq km], the risk that Mauritian vessels might be attacked is high," Foreign Minister Arvin Boolell said.
"We had already taken a number of measures but we also need to take exceptional action because the circumstances are exceptional," he said.
The government had come under fire from the opposition over the lack of security measures in place to protect shipping and cruise liners.
While Mauritian law did not previously prevent armed security aboard ships the latest measures make it easier for ship owners to do so and the move has been welcomed by shipping companies. Although Mauritius has not been directly affected by Somali piracy, the island nation has feared for its maritime trade.
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