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    Re: Off-topic: Recommendation for "Captain Phillips"
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2014 Jan 15, 10:52 -0800

    Gary, you wrote: "why don't you have a Ma Deuce on the stern rail?"

    If I understand you right, why weren't they armed with a nice big gun? I felt that frustration, too. Two centuries ago, it was normal to arm commercial vessels with small cannon.

    This remains a huge subject of controversy. Here's an article from a few months after the Maersk Alabama incident:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-weighs-arming-ships-against-pirates/

    Here's a quote from that article:
    "the laws of many nations prevent vessels from carrying weapons, historically for fear they would be used by mutineers.
    A range of maritime groups and insurers oppose arming ships because of liability issues and fears that violence could provoke an arms race with the pirates."

    Then there's the recognition problem. If we raid a Somali vessel, and they have a bunch of weapons onboard, they're pirates. Easy. But what if we change the rules. Then they can say that they are carrying weapons to defend against pirates. So now everybody has weapons. In the end, it's not too tough to decide to arm big ships, but that just forces pirates to attack small yachts. And yachts are strictly prohibited from carrying guns by most legal authorities. I gather that you can carry guns on the high seas. You just can't enter any port with them --which poses a practical problem!

    -FER

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