Merchant Ships Using Armed Guards

To me, this is a no-brainer. In fact, I'm puzzled why it hasn't been used before to combat the Somali pirates operating off the coast of Somalia. There is some BS rule the UN has incorporated that inhibits the crew of these merchant ships from arming themselves from attack. I've always felt one of the basic "human rights" is the right to defend yourself. Apparently, that doesn't meet UN guidelines for human rights for some odd reason. Regardless, just yesterday [article link], the Somali pirates proved two things; one, they are going to continue these attacks until it cost them dearly. Two, they aren't very smart. Once again, the pirates attacked the Maersk Alabama which they attacked once before in April. It took a courageous effort by the U.S. Navy to rescue the captain of this ship from the pirates. Yesterday, armed guards on the Maersk Alabama used small arms and sound detractors. It worked and the ship was saved.

Now, some marine security experts are saying this is a major escalation of the war with the Somali pirates. They fear that the pirates will board the ship and continue firing if fired upon. I must disagree. The Somali pirates started the escalation by hijacking ships and demanding ransom. Furthermore, it is impossible to tell what the pirates will do if they are fired upon by well trained security guards. If enough are killed or captured, there will come a time when they decide this isn't worth dying over. Sure, it is a risk you take by having armed guards to protect the ship and crew. But, odds are that you will save that ship and crew by giving them the means to protect themselves.


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