Somalia Pirates – What the f#%k!

Today, Danish forces (hell,I didn’t know the Danes had a navy; I thought they were skilled in growing cannabis!) secured a merchant ship that had been seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden.  The pirates got away, again, but the crew is safe. Last year Somali pirates mounted 217 attacks, hijacking 47 vessels with 867 crew members. The EU estimates that the pirates were paid between $60 million and $80 million in ransom.   Furthermore, they still hold nine ships and about 225 seamen along the coast of Somalia.

Now here is the part I don’t understand.  How can a half-dozen Somali kids on a small fishing boat board an ocean-going vessel without getting their asses shot off!  My wife, Jane, who is very street-wise, said, “Just shoot the bastards!”  It’s a valid comment because this problem has been going on for years and the owners of these ships don’t seem to taking appropriate actions to protect the cargo and crew. 

Let’s suppose you owned a merchant ship worth tens of millions (maybe, hundreds of millions) of dollars and you were carrying cargo worth more than the ship, wouldn’t you put a few mercenaries on board for the trip through the Gulf and past Somalia?  How much can it cost to protect your investment when the risk is millions in ransom that goes to support terrorism and drug traffic?  And I would assume that there is plenty of available talent to use the machine guns to blow these pricks out of the water! There may be some international conventions that prohibit weapons onboard vessels; but, if so, that needs to change!

And, if you are some rich Brit who sails your expensive yacht around the Horn with only your wife to protect you, well, what can I say!!!  That may be the ultimate in naivete’ or, maybe, stupidity!

So, what am I missing here?  I think Jane has it right!

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3 responses to “Somalia Pirates – What the f#%k!

  1. There are indeed treaties and the like that prevent the carriage of weapons on cargo ships, or prevent those ships from coming to port with such weapons. Additionally, the carriers themselves generally do not want guns aboard their ships, for general reasons. All this said, however, it seems to me that if the company that owns the ship is doing to take the route that crosses paths with the pirates to save money, they should consider spending some of this money to either hire an armed escort or on-board trained and armed guards (ex-military).

  2. Any shipping line can purchase an RPG-7 rocket launcher for about US$ 4,000. It has a range of about 500 meters and can be used effectively against armoured vehicles, fortified outposts, ships and personnel. It comes with a day/night sight and so can be used for survaillance and firing in complete darkness.The grenades use can be the lethal type (H.E , Fragmentation) or non-lethal (smoke, tear gas). Fitting this to a ship’s rail is a simple task and learning to load, sight, aim and fire could not be easier ( 5 minutes work ). This would be a very effective deterrent against pirates and once fired upon, word would spread rapidly if there are any survivers. If you want to know more, contact me

  3. Shaun:

    There are many ways a commercial ship could arm itself (including RPGs, automatic weapons, etc.), but there are also many reasons why they do not. The most significant reason may be that most countries (including I believe our own) do not permit commercial ships into port if they are carrying the weaponry you suggest. Add to that the need to train those who would handle the weapons, and the safety concerns of having such weapons aboard a ship in the first place (which is why most Captains do not want them). Perhaps the better means of protecting these ships would be to hire escort boats that are armed, and thus trained and better able to protect the ship if attacked and likely would be a significant deterent in the first place.

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