Thursday, March 11, 2010

Armed or Un-Armed?

It is a debated question if merchant and fishing vessels should have armed security on board their vessels, or merely stay with non-lethal tactics to stop pirates. some say that having armed personnel on board could escalate the pirate response. the last year has proven that having armed personnel on board is actually the best response, as there has never been a hijacking of any ship with armed personnel on board.

Recently, a fishing vessel in the Indian Ocean was fired upon by a rocket propelled grenade launcher. The grenade landed on the deck, exploded and caught fire. The on board armed security fired warning shots over the heads of the pirates and they stopped their attack and fled. however, the media called this a "firefight". I must say, this is not a firefight, this was appropriate first response by security personnel that used an appropriate amount of force to stop and neutralize the attack without any harm to any persons.

I had seen headlines like "Four Firefights in one Day Against Pirates". This is media sensationalizing the issue. None of the incidents were actual firefights, and in two of the incidents, it was military personnel involved, and not private security. In none of the incidents, were there any injuries to either side. When warning shots are fired, and the pirates flee, you could hardly call that a firefight.

It has proven time and time again, whether you have armed personnel on board, or as an escort to the vessel, there is no hijacking of the vessel.  Gosh, maybe that is a good thing. I really can not understand the IMO and IMB for criticizing this. Pirates adapt to what they must face. Their adaptation is more to the military presence than private security.

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