Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates? [1881 votes total]

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available (863)
Professional armed security teams should be hired (817)
No guns on merchant ships, ever (201)

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Posted By: Sponge Bob

Posted On: Sep 24, 2009
Views: 13468
arm or not to arm

In response to Capt Walker or should I say Barrister Walker, why must it be a competently trained deck officer? Engineer officers and the ratings are trained alike here in the US in small arms.

Posted By: Capt Kell Walker

Posted On: Sep 23, 2009
Views: 13396
arm or not to arm

As a Ship’s Master and a lawyer that has experienced firsthand of a vicious attack by pirates believe that I am in a better position than most of the armchair critics that fallaciously claim that merchant ships should not be armed.
If not for the fact that I and 3 of my deck officers were not armed I believe that I would not be here today to comment on this ongoing debate.
We send soldiers and sailors to war with 3 months training to be killed or to kill, we put on the streets law enforcement officers with 3 months training, why then can’t we train deck officers to protect our ships and crew? Ongoing training is essential in this respect including unarmed combat.
My experience with pirates found that they are not organized in a military fashion and rely on fear as their best weapon of attack. A well trained deck officer with the necessary fire power (and you don’t need a machine gun) is no match for pirates in a skiff. The Barrett M107 50 calibre sniper rifle will put the ****s up any pirate even if armed with a rocket launcher. With 4 Glock 22 and 3 pump action shotguns would be enough fire power that would be required to defend your ship and crew

Posted By: Retired C/E

Posted On: Sep 23, 2009
Views: 13274
Arming Crews

Here is my feeling on arming crews: Don't do it. No matter how much training a crew member received, a pirate will be better trained, and any crew member holding a weapon will be a dead crew member. If companies are worried about pirates then the companies should put PROFESSIONAL SECURITY PERSONNEL on board to protect the ship. Crew are hired to operate and maintain the vessel, not to defend the vessel against attack. The pirates do not want to harm the crews, they need the crew to move the ship from place to place until the ransom is paid.

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