Egypt: Rules on the storage of weapons

Port news

Published: 9 April 2015

Members are asked to review internal procedures and ensure CSOs and SSOs are familiar with the rules and regulations for weapons that may be carried on vessels in any particular jurisdiction that a vessel may call at.

Weapons on board ships

Ships may, at times, have weapons on board for a variety of reasons. In recent times it has been the increased usage of armed security guards, particularly when transiting the Gulf of Aden, which sees vessels carrying fire arms for a certain period of their voyage.

It should not come as any surprise that nation states have laws and regulations with respect to the ownership and / or possession of weapons (including, but not limited to, firearms) and that these can vary significantly between jurisdictions. Arriving in the jurisdiction / waters of a nation state means that its laws will apply and vessels should be aware of the specific rules wherever they may go. Failing to observe such rules can lead to delays, detentions, fines, confiscation and even the risk of imprisonment for violating national laws.

A recent re-issuing of the regulations in Egypt serve as a useful reminder to ensure that both Company Security Officers (CSOs) as well as Ship Security Officers (SSOs) continuously review arrangements and regulations, so that vessels are and remain in full compliance of local laws for all relevant periods of time.

Egyptian regulations

The Association has received a recent update from its correspondents in Egypt with details of an existing circular from the Maritime Transport Sector (via the Port Said Shipping Chamber), which explains the regulations with respect to the storage of weapons while transiting the Suez Canal. A copy of the circular and a free translation are reproduced alongside this advisory. Details of the weapons transfer procedure, including a free translation, can be found in the further document republished alongside this advisory.

Furthermore, our correspondents' agency department provides the following advice to masters before transiting the Suez Canal:


Dear Master;

Kindly find attached copy of the notification received from Port Said Shipping Chamber dated 23 February 2012 regarding new regulation for vessels carrying weapons onboard .

Vessel should provide her agent with detailed list by any / all weapons onboard for security and safety reasons plus names and details of security guards on board too.

Also kindly note that according to SCA and other ports authorities , any weapons onboard to be collected from the vessel, stored, transported and redelivered to the vessel while exiting Suez Canal.

Please note that this process will include storage cost of USD 500 to be paid to the authorities against official invoice and transportation expenses will be on agent's account too.


Most recently further information has been received, this time via agents GAC that the notification period prior to arrival may be moved up to 72 hours and that the cost of keeping the weapons in custody / storage may have gone up.

Members should therefore seek to obtain the latest advice from their agents in Egypt well in advance of arrival, preferably before 72 hours in advance of arrival, so that any updated procedures for notification can be duly complied with. The alternative is to risk delay, and perhaps a violation of local law and regulation.

This advance planning and preparation should be conducted in conjunction with a sound procedural and practical implementation of the ISPS Code on both ship and shore.

Further reading

The Association has previously published detailed information about the ISPS code.

Further specific advice on having possible contraband on board a vessel was recently published.

For vessel specific enquiries, members are asked to contact their usual Skuld business unit.

The Association is grateful to correspondents El Hamamsy Marine Services Ltd. for their contribution to this update.