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    Re: Off-topic: Recommendation for "Captain Phillips"
    From: Gary LaPook
    Date: 2014 Jan 15, 11:08 -0800
    The issue of carrying arms for self defense on yachts comes up from time to time in the sailing press and it seems that most countries have procedures that allow it. It appears that the concern is not that pirates will then have and explanation for the carrying guns on their boats but that the guns will be use ashore for crime or terrorism. So most countries procedures require impounding the guns ashore to be returned when you clear out of the country.

    The shipping industry has lots of clout and could get counties with ports that want there business to enact policies to make it easier to arm commercial vessels. AS to an arms race, those little speed boats needed to catch large commercial vessels cannot mount the size of gun you can mount on a large ship. Even a small gun like a "Ma Deuce," an M2 Browning .50 cal machine gun, is too large and it has an effective range of 2,000 meters, more than one nautical mile. The longest range weapon the pirates have are RPG 7s which fire rockets that self destruct at only 850 meters.

    Recent news is that ship owners are now hiring professional protection services that provide trained armed guards for vessels and piracy has dropped way off near Somalia.

    And the question isn't how much it will cost to ransom your vessel back, it is the terror and fear of the crewmen and their families that need to be PREVENTED, paying ransoms after the fact doesn't deal with this.

    I can't believe that every junk yard in America with $50,000 worth of junk has an armed guard but ships with their cargoes worth millions, some billions, don't!

    If they had to shift to pirating only sailboats they would have to find a new line of work soon, there aren't that many and they are not worth as much ransom money.


    From: Frank Reed <FrankReed@HistoricalAtlas.com>
    To: garylapook@pacbell.net
    Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 10:52 AM
    Subject: [NavList] Re: Off-topic: Recommendation for "Captain Phillips"

    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:
    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!
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