Why Don't Cargo Ships Use Guns to Fight Pirates? - DC Machines

Why Don't Cargo Ships Use Guns to Fight Pirates?

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Contractors with guns cost a hell of a lot. And pirate raids are very uncommon statistically. It’s not financially profitable for the shipping giants to take on the additional cost and liability. I operated a container ship in pirate waters from 2004 through 2010. In 2005 we were alarmed to see a report from the International Maritime Bureau that there were 3 attempted boardings in a week. That was later surpassed by 5 attempts a day in the following years. The insurance industry wrote a letter demanding the world’s navies do something.  A western military spokesman said that they can’t be responsible for 6,000 square miles of ocean and that ships had to protect themselves. The insurance companies responded by voiding any policy where the crew was armed - it’s better to pay out a small ransom than for the pirates to view the crew as an obstacle and then have to pay 20 death benefits. The international community later established the IRTC where navy ships could respond to a vessel being attacked (if they felt like responding) - I’m not kidding. When I was home I would tell my friends about the piracy threat. They were shocked to hear and wondered why it wasn’t in the news. I said, because an American ship hasn’t been hit yet. Then in 2009 the Maersk Alabama was attacked and we all began to know about piracy in the 21st century. In 2010 I went through pirate water twice a month and there was at least one mayday every transit, but I had 10 meters of freeboard and could do 23kts. Those poor bastards with 5 meters of freeboard and could only do 13kts were screwed. I once was turning north into the Red Sea when I saw a thousand small skiffs milling about and a German frigate leaving the Red Sea at dusk. I called the frigate and asked, don’t you see all these skiff and that dusk is a time for pirate attacks. The frigate responded that the skiffs appeared to be fishing. The ship I just passed sent out a mayday an hour later and was taken by pirates. It may have gotten better, but it really sucked for us at one time.

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