Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Armed guards a necessity

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Armed guards a necessity

    Armed guards on board could significantly reduce attacks by Somali pirates, so shipowners must overcome their fear of using them, according to the main speakers at a seminar on maritime security in London yesterday.
    The speakers pointed out that the number of incidents in the Gulf of Aden has declined, but at the same time, more ships have been attacked and hijacked in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, where Somali pirates use motherships to avoid the patrolling international forces.
    Most companies have limited safeguards in the form of razor wire, water hoses and safe rooms, instead of employing armed guards.
    ?Understandably, there continues to be a lot of debate about the merits and consequences of employing armed guards on merchant ships and we understand that, in an ideal world, this is not what the industry would want to be doing?, said James Wilkes, managing director of security firm Gray Page, one of the organizers of the seminar.
    ?However, it is time for shipping to emerge from its comfort zone and face up to the facts and realities of the threat posed by Somali pirates.?
    Dom Dee, founder of escort boat provider Protection Vessels International, said that demand for his company?s services has increased and that there was ?palpable relief? from masters and crews to have armed guards on board their ships.
    Magnus H?gg @ Shipgaz.com

    So what do we think about this then? Has anyone around here encountered pirates?
    Should we have armed guards on board or even go back to the time when the skipper had a couple of Webley Mark IIs in his safe for him and his officers to use?

  • #2
    Re: Armed guards a necessity

    I have encountered pirates before, although they were on someone else's ship and just firing blindly in our direction as we tried to "sneak" our way past.

    Armed guards on board is a very murky issue no matter how you look at it. They are good in that they provide a visible deterrence and gives the crew a bit of peace.

    However, god help them and the actual owners should they have to fire their weapons for any reason. Most flag states (apart from the Yanks) don't like armed guards being on the vessels. One particular flag representative has remarked before that he would rather the ship be hijacked than have armed guards on board. If they shoot someone then they could be brought up for murder or manslaughter charges and who knows where they would be tried. If you do it in Yemeni waters they might want to charge you (unlikely, they tend to just shoot on sight), international waters then it will be down to your flagstate. The vessel could be detained whilst an investigation is conducted into the shooting (massive loss of money for Owners and Charterers), Master could be arrested for allowing it (he is in command of the armed team at the end of the day) and proving that it wasn't murder is a nightmare.

    Legally, the armed team is only allowed to shoot "when there is a imminent risk of death or serious injury to a crew member or team member" and the pirates shooting at the vessel normally doesn't count. The pirates boarding the vessel doesnt count either, the only way it would be legal is if they are on board and pointing a weapon at one of the crew. You can't shoot the pirates if they run away either as that would be a "revenge shot" and would be considered to be murder. Like I said, murky at best.

    Arming the crew is also a bad idea for most of the reasons above. Giving them Webley's is a daft idea as it would be a revolver versus an automatic assault rifle.

    There are lots of other methods of keeping pirates off the vessel, some quite ingenious (e.g. Jet gun or Unifire) but if they do get on the ship, then best method is just to surrender, offer no resistance and dont be a hero. I know it sounds ****, but you stand a better chance coming away alive that way.
    I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

    All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Armed guards a necessity

      I have read of a ship that got rid of pirates by firing flares at them.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Armed guards a necessity

        Originally posted by GuinnessMan
        Giving them Webley's is a daft idea as it would be a revolver versus an automatic assault rifle.
        Haha, well doesnt necessarily have to be Webley's but how effective are fire hoses in comparison to automatic rifles?
        Seems, like you say, to be a difficult matter this.. But as the artice suggests, perhaps it's time for the industry to step out of it's "comfort zone" in regards to this. That would have to include some kind of changes in maritime law.

        Although difficult and complicated, this is an important issue that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. It wont be resolved overnight, thats for sure.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Armed guards a necessity

          Small arms fire seemed to work for Maersk Alabama on two separate occasions. I'm pretty sure a handgun makes a more intimidating weapon than a fire-hose. But I agree using something like automatic rifles is probably the best, if only to provide supressive fire, I mean, you don't have to kill the pirates

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Armed guards a necessity

            Originally posted by Shkval
            Small arms fire seemed to work for Maersk Alabama on two separate occasions. I'm pretty sure a handgun makes a more intimidating weapon than a fire-hose.
            Sure thing, the reason why pirates actually attack ships is that they know that Merchant vessels have few or no means of defence. e.g. Fire-hoses etc. There is no "mortal danger" for them whatsoever and so the risks are small and the profit is vast. Im also sure that they are quite aware of laws regulating the use of firearms on merchant ships.

            The solution is not only to take on arms, because firearms that can't be used at all due to regulations are not going to pose a threat. Likewise, firearms that can be used by law but never to actually physically wound an aggressor wont be effective either because the pirates will be aware of this law.

            As a conclusion, as long as pirates don't face the risk of being seriously injured or even killed during an attack they will see it as worthwhile. At the moment the existing laws in their complexity are protecting the attacking pirates rather than the attacked crew.

            My personal opinion is that the Commander of the vessel with all his responsibilities is the person best fit to judge if his vessel is endangered. Like in any other emergency situation he is the person in charge, and he should decide what action to take. If he decides, for the safety of his ship and crew, to take on firearms and then use them to defend his ship against pirates, he should have the law on his side. We trust him or her enough to take action and to make decisions in any other situation so why not now?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Armed guards a necessity

              You dont need to shoot the pirates few warning shots fired over head will get them running for home , or a few shots to the engine from a trained marksman
              Maybe I will never be
              All the things that I want to be
              But now is not the time to cry
              Now's the time to find out why

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Armed guards a necessity

                Why not have non-lethal weapons such as guns that fire rubber bullets? What about tazers or foam?
                "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way". --- Captain John Paul Jones, 1778.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Armed guards a necessity

                  Oh dear, here we go again.....No No No No No

                  Guns on a ship is an esclation of the war and as such a bad thing. Getting IMO / International Law to agree to ships carrying guns will take FOREVER, it took 30 years to get MARPOL into law and enforced properly and it is STILL elvolving howlong you think this could take? Then who is going to actually use the guns? The ships staff? You want to do extra training as a marks man? No? Well ok then who? Oh get "some one" in from shore side, where and when? Each and every berth on the vessel has to be paid for, no company will invent the rank of "Chief Gunny" especially as it isnt in the SOLAS Min Man Cert

                  Next where to board? Suez to "next port after pirate waters" and joining in reverse? Who looks after the weapons? Moved from ship to ship...u-hu can see local authorities relishing the idea of armed "blokes" comming ashore going to the airport and taking guns to thier next job.........or not

                  The as mentioned there is the law, what happens if 1 is shot, or if heaven forbid a real fishing boat is mistakenly shot at? Who's got juristiction? Whos going to tell? Who is going to carry the can?

                  Fire hoses are not actually meant as a weapon they are a deterants and there to make life hard, it is quite hard to climb up the side of a boat when some bugger is pouring water on you in vast amounts (anyone seen "it's a Knockout?!) Same as doing manouvers and changing speed (increasing) Ditto following the Best Practice booklet that is out, razor wire and other measure can be employed, the simple fact is that "most" (not all) successfull attempts have been made on ships NOT following the suggestions, not joining convoys, not following the routes, not reporting into various agencies, in fact generally not doing what people have recommended!

                  </relax>
                  Trust me I'm a Chief.

                  Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
                  Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
                  No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.


                  Twitter:- @DeeChief

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Armed guards a necessity

                    Originally posted by eddiegrice
                    Why not have non-lethal weapons such as guns that fire rubber bullets? What about tazers or foam?
                    Because that'll just piss them off, not stop them.

                    Hose 'em down with a minigun and make sure there are no survivors.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Armed guards a necessity

                      Thats what we would like, but there are devices called jet guns (or something like that) which is quite effective, especially when one uses a soapy solution (stings the eyes, makes everything slippy, etc). Trying to climb with one of these in your face is rather difficult, the only reason some companies aint using them is that they cost $40,000 for just one ship.

                      Also, knowing Dom Dee and his band (granted that they are very professional and any Zodiac cadet that goes through the GoA is going to meet them), they are going to push for the armed guards option as he charges ?30,000 a transit!

                      I was talking to our CSO the other day and I did suggest hooking our barbed wire fencing to a portable generator, but apparently the owner's wern't too keen on us zapping every single bloody seagull that went near it......
                      I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                      All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Armed guards a necessity

                        Originally posted by GuinnessMan

                        I was talking to our CSO the other day and I did suggest hooking our barbed wire fencing to a portable generator, but apparently the owner's wern't too keen on us zapping every single bloody seagull that went near it......
                        Yeah, because Greenpeace holding up the Ship is waaay much more of a hassle that pirates
                        "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way". --- Captain John Paul Jones, 1778.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Armed guards a necessity

                          Im not saying that carrying guns would have to be compulsory for every ship. Nor am I saying that armed guards should be placed on every vessel.

                          What I am suggesting is an international law that would give shipping companies legal right to carry firearms on board, locked away and securely stored of course.
                          In the "unlikely event" of a pirate attack, these guns could be used by the Officers who own a weapon licence and has undergone a basic marksman training course. Pacifists and other opponents could simply choose not to get a weapon licence and by doing so choosing not to be part of the vessels armed crew.

                          It's, as stated above, a difficult issue and so there are no easy easy solutions...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Armed guards a necessity

                            Originally posted by eddiegrice

                            Yeah, because Greenpeace holding up the Ship is waaay much more of a hassle that pirates
                            Mainstream media tend to ignore piracy unless it involves oil tankers or westerners. Greenpeace tend to make more noise and be listened to.

                            PSC might also have a question or two if you're alongside with a flock of dead seagulls about the place....
                            I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                            All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Armed guards a necessity

                              I remember reading an interesting article on the issue (I'll try to find it) where one solution proposed was to allow private security firms to purchase the rights to protect areas of ocean. Shipping firms would then pay a toll for passage through the area and the protection that the firm provides (whether that takes the form of an escort or something other I'm not sure). I don't have the exact details but some variation of the above sounds like quite a good idea. A compromise between private armed guards on board and the lack of military vessels to cover the vast areas of ocean.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X