Rules for the Use of Force (RUF)


The 100 Series Rules for the Use of Force

The development of recognised and lawful use of force at sea is an area of soft law which has been much needed in the shipping industry to protect crews, vessels and their cargos.

The right to life is often seen as the most important human right (Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, Article 3 “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”). Until the publication of the 100 Series Rules™ as a independent set of maritime Rules for the Use of Force (RUF) in May 2013, previously, there had been no model benchmark standard against which Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCS), ship owners, associations and insurers could compare RUF.

The 100 Series Rules™ are recognised around the world as an example of lawful maritime RUF upholding basic human rights. They were conceived by the HRAS Founder and developed alongside the industry, including the International Chamber of Shipping, BIMCO, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Security Association for the Maritime Industry and Lloyds Register over a 3 year period.

Today, they are used by PMSCs around the World, have passed through the IMO as an INF paper for MSC 92 (Wednesday 24 April 2013), were submitted as guidance in ISO PAS 28007-2 “Guidelines for Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSC) providing privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) on board ships (and pro forma contract)” and are endorsed by the Marshall Islands flag State in Marine Notice 2-011-39.

Human Rights at Sea

is proud to continue to support this valuable and vanguard work which itself supports and upholds seafarers, fishermen, crew and PMSC human rights

100 Series Rules™


The 100 Series Rules™ for the Use of Force (RUF) are the first international model maritime set of RUF for consideration and use by the maritime industry in relation to the objective and lawful defensive use of force based upon the right of individual self defence enacted as against an imminent threat.

The 100 Series Rules™ have been developed for the benefit of the entire maritime industry and under-pinned by a thorough public international and criminal law legal review using an objective international law test of what is “reasonable and necessary” when force is used, as a lawful last resort, in self-defense. This objective international legal test is deemed to be of a higher legal standard than that of subjective national legislative provisions for self-defense.

The 100 Series Rules™ do not bind flag States as to their use, but instead provide a choice for their potential incorporation into national guidance as determined by respective governments and competent authorities.

The 100 Series Rules™ are a model set and example of best practice for maritime RUF. They complement current industry RUF guidance on the drafting of RUF, as well as supporting the requirements of ISO PAS 28007 as a Publicly Available Specification and international standard.

The 100 Series Rules™ will go to providing an international model set of RUF as against which, Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) may be professionally trained, Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) may be audited and operator actions both measured and judged by competent authorities.

The 100 Series Rules™ will not, however, provide any form of defence, indemnity or immunity whatsoever against civil or criminal liability when force has been used unlawfully.

East African 100 Series Rules Review 2015


 An external East African review of the 100 Series Rules has been conducted HERE




The 100 Series Rules are a core reference for the new publication for Maritime Security Sector Actors

Download Preview of: Children Used In Maritime Piracy: A Handbook for Maritime Security Sector Actors

“I am delighted to endorse this well-drafted and comprehensive publication ‘Children Affected by Maritime Piracy: A Handbook for Maritime Security Sector Actors‘ which is filling an important information and advocacy gap in the maritime sector. I am aware of the exhaustive efforts that have gone into finalising this peer-reviewed publication and the team at The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative should be congratulated for their tenacity in its delivery. Specifically, I was struck by the plain-English sample Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for reporting human rights abuses against children and identification of indicators for traumatic stress in children, to highlight just two areas of the publication’s coverage. A must-read for all maritime security sector actors.”

David Hammond, CEO Human Rights at Sea