Should merchant ships have the option of being armed?

November 19, 2008 11:19am CST
In view of the hijacking of the supertanker Sirius Star by Somali pirates, am I the only one who thinks they had the right idea a couple of hundred years ago when it was considered normal for merchant ships to be armed? The ocean's are huge, the world's navies can't be everywhere at once, it seems common sense to me that if a merchant ship comes under attack and the authorities are nowhere nearby to help, the crew should be able to defend themselves. Is there any sensible reason why a ship like the Sirius Star couldn't maybe have a couple of gun turrets or rocket launchers capable of sinking attack boats? Obviously members of the crew would have to be appropriately trained, but I don't see any problem there. And also the crew should have some small arms in case pirates do manage to board.
2 people like this
9 responses
@murderistic (2278)
• United States
19 Nov 08
Yes, they should be armed, and also trained in what to do in a hostage situation.
3 people like this
20 Nov 08
Proper training is a must. Thanks for replying.
@spalladino (17921)
• United States
19 Nov 08
I was shocked when I saw on the news last night that these ships routinely travel through an area where this type of thing happens very often and that none of them are armed. If I owned a vessel that was taking that route, I'd want it armed to the teeth with extra personnel hired entirely for the purpose of protecting the ship.
3 people like this
20 Nov 08
Cheers. Thanks for replying.
• United States
19 Nov 08
Enlight of what is going on right now with the pirates than yes I think they should be able to armed well enough to protect themselves.
3 people like this
20 Nov 08
Cheers, thanks for replying.
@redhotpogo (4435)
• United States
19 Nov 08
Yes they should be armed, and have their own security forces. Will save governments lots of money, and help get rid of the pirate problem.
2 people like this
20 Nov 08
Of course we've got to remember that it's not just the big oil companies that are being victimised, but smaller outfits too, who may not be able to afford anything more than a couple of AKMs, so a naval presence would still be needed as a backup.
• United States
21 Nov 08
that's true, but really we already have military presence, and they're not doing much. they have too many rules so they just kind of sit back and watch.
1 person likes this
21 Nov 08
I know what you mean, although to be fair it seems that both the French and the Indians have been doing good work fighting these scumbags recently.
@xParanoiax (6997)
• United States
19 Nov 08
Of course. I suppose I'm a bit old fashioned though, I think everyone should have weapons...especially when traveling so extensively. Thieves will be thieves, and the longer you travel the more likely you are to come across a pack. So, when it comes to merchant ships I believe that it's quite obviously common sense to be well-armed and have your crewman well-trained in the event of a pirate raid. The debate over -what sorts of weapons- can rage, as long as they can carry weapons. I'm sure it's plenty complicated depending where they're traveling to...but this could create jobs for people in alot of countries and in the waters, so I have no reason to feel that this could be a bad thing.
2 people like this
20 Nov 08
Absolutely. Self defence is a universal right. As for actual tactics when fighting off pirates, I'll leave that to people better qualified than me to judge. Thanks for replying.
• United States
20 Nov 08
Well, having neither you nor I having to have battled pirates I think that's fair! Heh. =)
1 person likes this
@mariposaman (2967)
• Canada
20 Nov 08
It is absolute insanity to send cargoes worth millions of dollars through pirate infested waters without at least an armed escort. They will find out soon enough when the insurance companies stop insuring them or the cost of ransom will become so prohibitive that they will be forced to act differently. This will go on until something violent starts to happen and people get killed.
2 people like this
20 Nov 08
That's also my concern. These pirates seem to be almost operating as mini-navies. Sooner or later there's going to be a massacre.
• Indonesia
26 Nov 08
i very agreed if all merchant ship armed, with armed they can protect themselves from any threat. Also they must have some early warning system if a pirate approach their ship.
1 person likes this
4 Dec 08
Thanks for replying.
• India
20 Nov 08
Sea Pirates have made a come back in a big way in the recent past. yesterday a pirate ship was sunk by an indian Navy Frigate when they refused to peromit the navy to inspect the ship. Strict action ahs to be taken by teh navies the world ove and they ahve to coordinate to ensure safety of the merchant ships. pirates if caught shoud be tried and given exemplary punishment.Infact they should not be caught but sunk at sea.
1 person likes this
20 Nov 08
I heard about that. Good for the Indian Navy! I'm glad there's someone out there willing to take decisive action.
• United States
20 Nov 08
actually until reading thru the responses you've gotten i didnt know that merchant ships were NOT ALLOWED to have weapons for defense!! thats just plain stupid! they travel with mass amounts of cargo, equaling mass amounts of money, thru dangerous waters KNOWN for pirate activity and they are NOT allowed to be armed? how does that possibly make sense? you'd think that the companies that own these ships, much less the companies that own the cargo, would be flat out insisting that some kind of defense is present!
1 person likes this
20 Nov 08
Yes, it's surprising the oil companies haven't been lobbying to be allowed to tool up, isn't it? People are too dependent on the state these days.