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UK merchant ships 'could be armed' to stop pirates

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  • UK merchant ships 'could be armed' to stop pirates

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-14060044

  • #2
    From what i've heard, the Norwegians have already changed their laws to allow armed guards aboard their ships, and apparently this opened the flood gates and other flags are now doing the same.

    Although, the Current CTF commander (some French Captain, can't remember the name off hand), is apparently quite frustrated as their hands are tied. They have been saying, repeatedly, that if they were to be let loose and handle things the way they wanted, the Piracy issue would be eradicated within a month. Good ol' politicians eh?
    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.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post

      Although, the Current CTF commander (some French Captain, can't remember the name off hand), is apparently quite frustrated as their hands are tied. They have been saying, repeatedly, that if they were to be let loose and handle things the way they wanted, the Piracy issue would be eradicated within a month. Good ol' politicians eh?
      what does he have in mind some good old fashioned gunboat diplomacy like the **** we used to get away with
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Zanzibar_War

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      • #4
        She made some references to cleaning them all up....
        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.

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        • #5
          I think it's a relatively good idea in principle. There's a lot to be said for avoiding an armed fire fight on board. Yes, the weapons would be a deterrent for the most part but there's the possibility that they'd have to be used at some point. If, for example, the cruise ships started carrying firearms there would be an awful possibility that innocent people would be caught in crossfire or a more dangerous hostage taking situation. Discretion is sometimes the better part of valor, and complying could save lives.

          I can see the cargo ship argument tho. That ships with 15-20 crew or even small ships with 10 crew may need a more reliable way to defend themselves.

          The problem of firearms comes under flag state law. A British flagged ship remains sovereign territory of the UK and, as such, is governed by UK laws. It is therefore illegal to carry a firearm on board unless the owner carries a UK gun licence.

          Technically we could force US coastguard to surrender their weapons every time they board a UK ship to conduct an inspection, they are breaking the law of the flag state if they carry guns on board. We don't because the US coastguard would say "fine" and then send a battleship along and politely ask us to leave and never come back. Which is bad for business I'm told.

          To boldly go.....
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Randomist View Post
            Technically we could force US coastguard to surrender their weapons every time they board a UK ship to conduct an inspection, they are breaking the law of the flag state if they carry guns on board. We don't because the US coastguard would say "fine" and then send a battleship along and politely ask us to leave and never come back. Which is bad for business I'm told.
            Would that not only apply as long as your outside their water's. which is the reason why conventions have to be placed into each countries own laws so basically any law that the us has applies to ships as soon as they cross the line (24 miles out) , not sure about ships deep sea being searched but i would imagine that a uk ship has a duty to comply with the forces of goverment
            you can take it with a pinch of salt, but i prefer it with a nip of whisky

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            • #7
              Even while a UK ship is in a US port, it still remains the territory of the UK. Believe me, this stuff caused confusion when I did marine law at college. But the long and short of it is even though a UK ship is inside a US port, it still technically is part of the UK. The US may force the ship to leave their waters but if the captain says the USCG are not allowed aboard, they're not.

              If the USCG have to search a ship inside their waters that isn't US registered, before they're allowed to board they have to obtain permission between the ships flag state. They may detain the ship if it's inside the PORT state's waters, but they may not board it without the FLAG states permission

              To boldly go.....
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              • #8
                'obtain permission between the ships flag state' and what? between suggest two parties, and so does this have to be done for each and every search or is it a case that one agreement is sufficient?
                Last edited by ETwhat?; 12 July 2011, 04:18 PM. Reason: i forgot a word
                you can take it with a pinch of salt, but i prefer it with a nip of whisky

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                • #9
                  I think you are confused. Only warships and perhaps government vessels on non-commercial service enjoy the type of sovereign immunity you describe.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Randomist View Post
                    The problem of firearms comes under flag state law. A British flagged ship remains sovereign territory of the UK and, as such, is governed by UK laws. It is therefore illegal to carry a firearm on board unless the owner carries a UK gun licence.

                    Technically we could force US coastguard to surrender their weapons every time they board a UK ship to conduct an inspection, they are breaking the law of the flag state if they carry guns on board. We don't because the US coastguard would say "fine" and then send a battleship along and politely ask us to leave and never come back. Which is bad for business I'm told.
                    Think the point of the article is the UK government is changing the advice/law on this. Wouldn't the US be happy if weapons are in a sealed customs locker? Besides is their much piracy in US waters that they'd be necessary there?

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                    • #11
                      Its more once you have guns your not likely to stop off and get rid of them again, so yeah it comes into having a bonds chest that you can seal all the nasties into. often customs will seal the drugs anyway and i know a few boats that when they go into ireland get the gunpowder locked up as they only have the ability to fire the cannons in the uk or at sea.

                      Having looked into it the feeling from the coastgaurd is once inside 24nm they can come on board if they choose, yes you can refuse them to board but only in the same way that if a poilce man comes to my door i can refuse him entry
                      you can take it with a pinch of salt, but i prefer it with a nip of whisky

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ETwhat? View Post
                        Having looked into it the feeling from the coastgaurd is once inside 24nm they can come on board if they choose, yes you can refuse them to board but only in the same way that if a poilce man comes to my door i can refuse him entry
                        This is the point I was trying to make haha! It is a stupid idea to refuse entry, as it would be to a policeman. You'd still get arrested anyway

                        To boldly go.....
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lewis View Post
                          Think the point of the article is the UK government is changing the advice/law on this. Wouldn't the US be happy if weapons are in a sealed customs locker? Besides is their much piracy in US waters that they'd be necessary there?
                          Ship's move about quite a bit, so they won't always stay in one particular area.

                          From personal experience, I can tell you that moving fire-arms, ammunition and body armour on or off a ship is hell on earth. You need to have port state approval, coast-guard approval, flag state approval, the military want to give their approval (depending on country) and the police tend to want to know about as well.

                          Now, whilst it's true that no armed vessel has never been hijacked I would predict that if all ships transiting through GoA carried armed personnel, eventually the pirates are going to start attacking the armed vessel's with a bit more gusto. Remember that they are smart, devious, cunning and generally have nothing to lose so they don't care about who gets caught in the cross-fire or who dies. This is a problem that needs to be sorted on the ground in Somalia.
                          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.

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                          • #14
                            Authorities have an issue with body armor?

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                            • #15
                              Some countries do. One security team I was dealing with wound up being arrested because they walked off the vessel with their body armour.
                              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.

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