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2011-11-10 14:49:20.816371+00 by petronius 8 comments

In response to piracy off the coast of Somalia, the British government is going to allow their merchant ships in the area to be armed. The idea is not to arm the sailors but rather security guards who would actually have the license. I have long thought that the answer to the pirates would be crews of armed men shuttling from Suez onto boats, then shuttling onto northbound ships somewhere in the Indian ocean for the ride back. My question is whether they get to use RPGs like the pirates?

[ related topics: Boats Machinery ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-11-10 16:11:00.357524+00 by: Larry Burton

I don't understand why some security companies haven't equipped some small patrol boats with light armament and hired themselves out as escorts.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-11-10 16:28:06.028792+00 by: other_todd

What Larry said. It's struck me for a while that there's short-term money to be made from an armed shipping escort service, and yet no one has picked up that cash lying on the table!

(I'm also surprised that the Maersk Line people, who tend to be extremely pragmatic Danes, haven't put armed defenses on their ships before now.)

#Comment Re: made: 2011-11-10 18:20:14.51425+00 by: meuon

At least some belt-feed .50's..

#Comment Re: made: 2011-11-10 20:03:07.31871+00 by: petronius

I suspect that one opponent of armed private escorts is the insurance carriers. Yes, they would like to avoid paying ransoms, but they may be worried about some gung-ho with a lifetime subscription to Soldier of Fortune accidently sinking the Love Boat. Having some sort of state sanction to armed guards, perhaps with a certification process, might mollify their fears.

BTW, in WW1 & 2, the US Navy had a detachment called the Armed Guard. They were Naval Reservists who manned light guns on merchant ships in the Atlantic Convoys and the Murmansk run. I think they would have been of little help against the Bismark or a determined U-boat. An uncle of mine belonged to the AG. Maybe its time to revive them

#Comment Re: made: 2011-11-12 13:22:38.496465+00 by: andylyke

Or possibly try to fathom what sends these folks out pirating in the first place. Could it be the usurpation of their fishing grounds by factory ships of European nations, or the ever widening gap in well being in today's world? Perhaps these guys are the "Occupy Indian Ocean" movement.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-11-12 19:56:19.245426+00 by: other_todd

Oh, that's easy. They're broke. Somalia effectively has no government and no economy. The southern half of the country is controlled by a particularly antisocial group of Islamic extremists who like to do things like destroy crops and herds, when they're not killing people. Two areas in the N/NE part of the country said, "Screw this, we're going to do our own thing" and are essentially breakaway states now. Another area at the S/SW end, between the Kenyan border and a major river is trying to break away as well - this is the area Kenya recently sent troops into. Oh, yes, and there's a group of militants in the area bordering Ethiopia which has had a long-standing dispute over that border, which does not respect their tribal lines (it's the former extent of British military control from way back when).

Under the circumstances, going out in barely seaworthy boats to try to rob someone begins looking like an attractive alternative, I suppose.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-11-13 19:52:01.240423+00 by: petronius

Then why aren't they going after the fishing boats?

#Comment Re: made: 2011-11-13 23:31:52.386012+00 by: TheSHAD0W

Because pirate chests are supposed to be full of gold, not mullet.