Sounds like a new business line for Blackwater
This is a discussion on Petraeus: Shippers should consider armed guards within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; By LARA JAKES, Associated Press Writer – 18 mins ago WASHINGTON – The global shipping industry should consider placing armed guards on its boats to ...
By LARA JAKES, Associated Press Writer – 18 mins ago
WASHINGTON – The global shipping industry should consider placing armed guards on its boats to ward off pirates who have become increasingly violent, the U.S. military commander who oversees the African coastline said Friday. Gen. David Petraeus told a House committee Friday that just trying to outrun or block pirates from boarding cargo ships isn't enough to deter sea bandits off the Somali coast who are becoming more aggressive.
But the shipping industry has resisted arming their boats, which would deny them port in some nations.
Petraeus said defensive preparations short of armed guards "can work. You can have water hoses and others that can make it more difficult," Petraeus told a House Appropriations subcommittee.
But in a wry tone, he added: "It's tough to be on the end of a water hose if the other guy is on the end of an RPG. So you've got to think your way though that calculation as well."
An RPG is a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
Petraeus said the Navy would continue to patrol the region, but added that some shippers in the past hadn't taken even basic steps to avoid pirates.
"We started off by saying, 'If you just speed up, when the pirates approach you that will help. If you take evasive action, that's even better. And if you unbolt the ladder that allows the pirates to climb onto your ship before you set sail, you get extra credit for that,'" Petraeus said. "These were not being taken before."
Joe Cox, president of the Chamber of Shipping of America, cautioned that deploying armed guards aboard cargo ships could escalate violence if pirates expect a gunfight.
"If you asked us two weeks ago, we would say, 'No guns on ships,'" Cox said Friday. "Now the reaction is, 'Let's talk.' That's not a ringing endorsement of going in that direction. But we know, under the current circumstances, something has to be done."
The Washington-based trade association represents 32 shipping companies.
Cox also called on the government to remain committed to securing the high seas. "We don't want them to abrogate the responsibility," he said.
Pirates have hijacked more than 100 ships off the Somali coast over the last year, including one in a dramatic standoff between pirates and the U.S. Navy earlier this month in the Indian Ocean. A U.S. sea captain was held hostage for five days before three of his captors were shot and killed by Navy SEALS. A fourth pirate is now being held in New York, where he awaits prosecution.
Naval forces from several nations patrol the waters that Petraeus described as many times the size of Texas. But he said there is no way for any military to be able to safeguard all commercial ships that ply those waters.
The region is one of the world's most crucial shipping lanes, with oil vessels and other merchant ships carrying billions of dollars worth of cargo. Authorities say pirates are well aware that ship owners have been willing to pay an average of $2 million ransom for each seized ship.
Sounds like a new business line for Blackwater
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .
The answer is obvious, perhaps it is the right question that has not yet been ask.
I think paying ransom does alot more to endanger your crew than using leathal force. Back in the days of masted sailing ships freighters carried guns and cannons on board, why not now? I thought it was a well known fact that the African coasts are potroled by pirates, not just Somolia. I can see the ports not wanting just any armed vessels around, but hey, do they wan't the business
I also think an oil tanker would look cool with a 130mm cannon up front.
If your ship, flag, and contents cannot be respected, then it should be feared......arm them to the teeth. If a port will not respect that right, then stop going to that port...$$$ talks.
Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”
Certified Glock Armorer
NRA Life Member
I'm a security professional. If you asked me to keep someone safe with 1) armed security but no planning or 2) good planning and procedures with no guns, I'd take 2) all the time.
Luckily, for me there's option 3), which allows me to use proper planning and procedures with armed security. But this may not be realistic, possible, or desirable for some people in some situations.
Blackwater offered armed security but had no takers as far as I know. The option to put a security team onboard in dangerous waters and take it off before reaching port is a good idea if you can work it logistically and financially.
Many members on this board, however, seem to think that Somalis in general would be deterred by the possibility of armed resistance and/or the death of their comrades. I heartily disagree with this assessment. They come ready and willing to fight.
An RPG is a Rocket Propelled Grenade. The launcher is seperate.
Blackwater Floats Private Navy To Fight Pirates - Forbes.com
"It's bad news for shippers, but an opportunity for Blackwater Worldwide, the North Carolina-based private military contractor. Last week, the company announced plans to dispatch the MV MacArthur, a 183-foot vessel with a crew of 14 and a helicopter pad, to the Gulf of Aden to provide escort services for ships in need of security.
"Billions of dollars of goods move through the Gulf of Aden each year," said Bill Matthews, executive vice president of Blackwater Worldwide, in a press release. "We have been contacted by ship owners who say they need our help in making sure those goods get to their destination safely. The McArthur can help us accomplish that."
The mercenary outfit--founded by former Navy SEALs in 1997 and heavily involved in U.S. military efforts in Iraq--has tentative plans to build a small fleet of two or three anti-piracy vessels, each able to carry several dozen armed security personnel, according to reports in Lloyds List Maritime. Although the Blackwater vessels will not be armed, the crew will be. Unlike official military personnel, they may have fewer qualms about using those arms against pirates. "
Shippers should have long since considered being armed. IMO, those that haven't have been derelict in their duty to protect their people and cargo. There has always been piracy. There will always be piracy, which is merely a garden variety armed robbery (of a sea-going vessel). For freighters in the business, to deny reality means that you get what you get. Don't want that? Then, wake up and smell the diesel fumes. Pretty simple.