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  • pirates and other incidents

    Just wondering, has anyone here ever been attacked by pirates ? or had any similar type of incidents ? would be glad to hear some stories if possible as im starting my cadetship after summer and i have been looking into this topic for a while now.

    Also, do cargo ships allow crew members to carry guns ? if not then why ? seems pretty stupid to me if at least 1 person(captain for example) is not even allowed at least a pistol. or maybe even a C02 pistol/rifle...

  • #2
    Went through the Gulf of Aden about 20 times during my cadetship. Saw the occasional dodgy looking skiff and heard other vessels reporting suspicious craft on the VHF and requesting assistance on a couple of occasions but never felt in much danger on the ships I was on (containers with 20kts+ and freeboard of 6m+...there are a lot of easier targets). This was a couple of years ago and piracy in the Gulf of Aden isn't as bad as it used to be, West Africa seems to be where the action is at the moment.

    Crew members carrying guns would be waaaaay more dangerous than the likelihood of being attacked by pirates. Some people at sea are a bit unhinged, I would not want to sail on a ship where the crew had access to firearms (even the captain). A lot of ships now carry armed guards in high risk areas but this is strictly regulated. They are usually highly trained ex military personnel with relevant certification and insurance. I have never sailed with armed guards but if I was ever to get a job working in a high piracy area again I would only take the job if the company employed armed guards.

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    • #3
      However, my main reason for commenting here is down to your question about firearms. Ignoring the points about crew members being a bit unhinged, crew or Captain carrying firearms of any kind is never going to happen on a commercial vessel. Not being nasty, so please don't take this the wrong way, but reasons are: -

      1) The legal ramifications of them actually shooting someone. Things are tricky enough at the moment if the armed guards shoot someone, imagine if it was the crew that did it? There would have to be an investigation, but who would do it? Where would it be done? If in International waters then it should be the flag state, but they don't like armed guards as it is (they grudgingly accept them), are they geared up for that sort of investigation? Probably not.

      2) Training. We're not military in any sense, so we have no training in firearms at all and to be considered proficient then there would have to be regular top up training (it would have to be every 6 months or something). However, think about the current level of training and other incidents. How often are people trained and drilled up on enclosed space entry incidents and how often do companies have issues with this?

      3) Local Port States. Again, flag states and maritime authorities really do not like firearms and there are quite a few places that won't accept a ship that is carrying firearms. You need special agreements, permissions, etc. It's a hassle for the PMC's to do, it's why some of them have their firearms held offshore on their own ships and just cross decks. Some places don't even like us carrying body armour! A few years ago, we had two armed guards arrested for carrying their armour off the ship with them.

      4) Practicalities. Taking into account the ranges and the weapons involved, a pistol is a utter waste of time. You'd have more chance of hitting a pirate in a skiff if you threw it at them, particularly as they like to carry old AK's and RPG's with them. There is the option of throwing the bridge fridge (nod to Mr Campion) at them....

      5) Armed guards. It's much simpler and much easier to pay the $25-30K and employ the armed guards. They have the training, the weaponry, skills and expertise to protect and defend the vessel, not to mention they are fluent with all the regulations and are, usually, vetted by most flag states and larger companies. Whilst there are a load of cowboys out there, there are also some truly excellent companies as well (e.g. PVI, GOAGT, etc) and, again, it's all down to what you pay for. Pay peanuts, get monkeys.
      GuinnessMan
      OC's Resident Grumpy Old Man
      Last edited by GuinnessMan; 12 April 2015, 04:16 PM.
      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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      • #4
        Thanks for the explanations !

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        • #5
          Originally posted by timmy View Post
          Thanks for the explanations !
          No probs. We do have am article in the works with an armed guards company which should answer most questions for folks...

          Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
          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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