Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pirates successfully repelled - by GUNS!

Arming ships to stop pirate attacks works.
Somali pirates attacked the Maersk Alabama on Wednesday for the second time in seven months and were thwarted by private guards on board the U.S.-flagged ship who fired off guns and a high-decibel noise device.
See? Pirates don't want to deal with high-risk targets - ones that can perforate their precious hides with lead. Unfortunately, some people still don't get it.
However, Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the London-based think tank Chatham House, said the international maritime community was still "solidly against" armed guards aboard vessels at sea, but that American ships have taken a different line than the rest of the international community.

"Shipping companies are still pretty much overwhelmingly opposed to the idea of armed guards," Middleton said. "Lots of private security companies employee people who don't have maritime experience. Also, there's the idea that it's the responsibility of states and navies to provide security. I would think it's a step backward if we start privatizing security of the shipping trade."
No matter how much you trust other people to protect you, ultimately you are responsible for your own safety. The owners of the Maersk Alabama have at least partially realized that, and addressed it by hiring an armed security team. They have at least realized (through bitter experience) that you cannot rely on people who aren't there - the navies of the world simply cannot provide an armed escort for every single ship on the oceans. When there is a navy vessel close enough to respond to an attack, the pirates just go looking for another victim where there isn't one close enough.

This quote sums it up nicely:

"Somali pirates understand one thing and only one thing, and that's force," said Capt. Joseph Murphy, who teaches maritime security at the school. "They analyze risk very carefully, and when the risk is too high they are going to step back. They are not going to jeopardize themselves."
Sounds like most criminals, to me.

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