Piracy and the right to self defense

Just yesterday the History Channel had a program about the American flag ship that Somali pirates attacked earlier in the year, and the fine work that the U.S. Navy did in getting the ship and crew rescued. Not to sell the Navy short by any means, but a lot of what happened was as a direct result of the actions taken by the crew. Indeed, if the crew had not taken decisive action, the Navy’s job would have been much tougher.

It seems that those that are so much smarter than common people prefer appeasement. Indeed, what in recent history has appeasement accomplished? World War Two comes to mind, as does the seizing of the American Embassy in Iran.Let’s not forget our second place finish in the Southeast Asian War games when appeasement stopped the bombing. Or the Korean War and what that has led to in the aftermath, as in lunatics with nuclear weapons. Appeasing hostage takers brought us September eleventh, and the World Trade Center attacks that this nation is still reeling from.

So then what is all this about? Well, I do have my problems with the N.R.A. But this time they hit the ball right out of the park, and it went straight over the center field fence. Read on.

Friday, June 26, 2009
Last month we reported on the arming of merchant mariners to allow them to defend their crews and ships from pirate attacks.  We noted that, with the increase in pirate attacks on the high seas, many are now realizing that firearms and armed citizens can be as effective a criminal deterrent at sea, as they are on land.

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) wrapped up a meeting earlier this month, where it agreed on “revised guidance on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships.”

Among other things, the report recommends “guidance to shipmasters and crew…who may be kidnapped or held hostage for ransom, based on the current United Nations guidance on ‘surviving as a hostage.’”

As hard as it is to believe, the MSC report concludes that, “flag States should strongly discourage the carrying and use of firearms by seafarers for personal protection or for the protection of a ship. Seafarers, it was agreed, are civilians and the use of firearms requires special training and aptitudes and the risk of accidents with firearms carried on board ship is great. Carriage of arms on board ship may encourage attackers to carry firearms or even more dangerous weapons, thereby escalating an already dangerous situation. Any firearm on board may itself become an attractive target for an attacker. Carriage of firearms may pose an even greater danger if the ship is carrying flammable cargo or similar types of dangerous goods.”

These recommendations defy reason, given that the pirates are already heavily armed and know vessels are easy targets due to the high level of probability that seamen are unarmed.

By contrast, U.S. Representative Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) has introduced H.R. 2984–the “United States Mariner and Vessel Protection Act of 2009.” The purpose of the Act is to assist in the defense of United States-flag vessels against piracy and to ensure the traditional right of self-defense of those vessels against piracy.

Commenting on the measure, Rep. LoBiondo, the ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation subcommittee, said: “Our merchant marine fleet is increasingly under attack from unlawful individuals and rogue groups that seek to disrupt commerce, seize U.S. and foreign crews, and instill fear on international waters. It is only appropriate that our fleets be legally allowed to defend themselves from these violent encounters. This common-sense legislation is a necessary step in empowering U.S.-flagged vessels to protect their crews and cargo.”


Tags: , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “Piracy and the right to self defense”

  1. Cole20 » Posts about Wordpress dor education as of 29 June 2009 Says:

    […] Oh wait! How to make your own widget?? If you are on WordPress, simply go to the Widgets page Piracy and the right to self defense – patricksperry.wordpress.com 06/28/2009 Just yesterday the History Channel had a program […]

  2. overwatch2009 Says:

    Dear all.

    My company has a solution to the problem of pirates.
    It is not the only solution, but we feel it is one of the best at the moment.
    Have a look and tell me what you think.

    John Barton

  3. tonydowning Says:

    I agree with the legislation, too. Those pirates need to be taken out with extreme prejudice, whatever it takes. That news story was a bright spot in a sea of capitulation.

  4. Patrick Sperry Says:

    You may have a partial solution John.

    Well stated Tony.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: