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    Re: Off-topic: Recommendation for "Captain Phillips"
    From: Gary LaPook
    Date: 2014 Jan 15, 22:32 -0800
    So, you have to be careful before you use lethal force, just like in self defense cases ashore. It may be that these guys were trigger happy and should be punished. Each event is fact specific. But there is still that old wisdom, "I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six."

    I'm not the only one that feels armed guards on the ships themselves is the best solution, the commander of the U.S. Naval forces agrees as do 389 congressmen, see:



    "Advocates say onboard teams with weapons would deter or defeat ragtag bands of pirates in flimsy skiffs. On April 25, 2009, pirates tried to board the Italian cruise liner MSC Melody as it headed in the Indian Ocean from southern Africa to Europe, but Israeli private guards opened fire and the assailants departed."

    Think about what would have happened if they had not driven those pirates away. They capture the ship and bring it to a Somali port. It takes three months to negotiate a hundred million dollar ransom, then the real trouble begins. Every maritime plaintiff's lawyer will parachute in and file a thousand law suits demanding at least a million dollars for each day that their passenger client was  terrorized, thought he was going to be killed, is now suffering from PTSD and other psychological problems, based on the ship not providing appropriate levels of security for their "common carriage" passengers. "Common carriers" owe the highest level of duty to their passengers and even the slightest neglegence on the common carrier's part makes it liable for any damages suffered by its passenger. Not providing protection from a known hazard is far and  away above the "slightest negligence" standard that will trigger liability. The jury awards and settlements will exceed a billion dollars. If the pirates had been sucessfull in that event then the shipowners would certainly have started supplying armed security on their ships.



    From: Lu Abel <lu@abelhome.net>
    To: garylapook@pacbell.net
    Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 4:37 PM
    Subject: [NavList] Re: Off-topic: Recommendation for "Captain Phillips"

    Tom, I think you missed the point of the article.   The Italian Marines shot and killed two Indian fishermen who were determined to not be a threat to the ship.   AC-130, 50 Cal MG on the stern, AK47s, what does it matter?   Firepower is not the issue.

    In many parts of the world Rules of the Road and other maritime laws are routinely ignored by people trying to make a living on the water.   Earlier this year I was in Shanghai and was amazed to see that very few river barges carried running lights!   The river that Shanghai straddles is very brightly lit at night, but I found myself wondering how this incredible stream of traffic avoided collisions 10 miles upstream or 10 miles downstream where it was pitch black at night.   What if I were on a foreign-flagged vessel in the river?

    Similarly, I've heard of people being approached by fishermen trying to trade some goods while they were sailing along foreign coasts.  Pirates or simply people who don't understand that I might be afraid of pirates??

    Heck, I remember being at anchor in a small harbor in Nova Scotia and being approached by a local (likely a bit inebriated) wanting to know if I wanted to buy some fresh fish.   But I was apprehensive about him, especially when I couldn't understand his slurred words.  

    Again - the issue is not the quantity and quality of firepower.   Rather, it's when it's appropriate and legal to use it.


    On 1/15/2014 3:23 PM, Tom Sult wrote:

    A fleet of http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_AC-130
    Constantly loitering on station would be a fairly dramatic deterrent. They have really good glass (and other goodies) and unreal attach capability. A burst in front of the advancing vessel would be a real attention getter. And if needed they could vaporize the attaching vessel in a single bust. 

    But expensive. 

    Tom Sult
    Sent from my iPhone

    On Jan 15, 2014, at 14:43, Lu Abel <luabel{at}ymail.com> wrote:

    Here's an article to back up Frank's thoughts:


    An Italian tanker had two Italian Marines aboard, apparently to provide defense against pirates.   They shot and killed two Indian fisherman (what started the fight is not clear).   It was later determined the fishermen posed no threat to the tanker -- and now India wants to try the Marines for murder!

    The majority of proposals to provide active defense against pirates involve using private security guards, not military.  International law treats the military of other countries vastly differently than civilians, so if India is charging a couple of members of Italy's military with murder, how would they treat armed civilian guards?

    From: Frank Reed <FrankReed{at}HistoricalAtlas.com>
    To: luabel{at}ymail.com
    Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 10:53 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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