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Private Arsenal Ships in the Fight Against Piracy

by John Reed on March 22, 2012

If you’re a private security company patrolling for pirates in the waters off East Africa where do you store all your firepower when the nearby countries won’t let you store heavy weapons within their boundaries? Why you create a floating arsenal of course!

Creating arsenal ships is exactly what private security firms are up to in the waters off Somalia, the AP is reporting. The only problem is that there are zero safety standards for such vessels, something even the private security firms say is a problem. With up to twevle of these floating arsenals sitting off the African coast, the varying safety standards means that poorly guarded or improperly stored weapons on a boat could find their way into the wrong hands or  worse; one of the boats may be a ripe target for the pirates they’re in place to guard against.

Per the AP:

Storing guns on boats offshore really took off as a business last year. Britain — where many of the operators are from — is investigating the legality of the practice, which has received little publicity outside of shipping industry circles.

Floating armories have become a viable business in the wake of increased security practices by the maritime industry, which has struggled for years to combat attacks by Somali pirates. But those in the industry say the standards vary widely.

Governments and industry leaders “need to urgently address standards for floating armories and get flag state approval,” said Nick Davis of the Maritime Guard Group “Everything has got to be secured correctly, recorded, bonded, the correct locks, and so on. It’s not just a case of find a room, put some weapons in it and everybody chill out.”

Some floating armories did not have proper storage for weapons, enough watchmen, or enough space for guards to sleep indoors, forcing them to sleep on deck, he said.

In the absence of applicable laws, he said, “companies are just being economical with the truth.”

Davis said his company operates two tugs as floating armories and carefully maintains log books for his company’s hundreds of weapons and records for each shot fired. He did not allow other companies to rent out space on his tugs because of regulatory problems, he said, but hopes to do so soon and has sent out advertisements.

“Ships have to use armed guards, yet none of the governments want to provide an ethical and accountable way of using firearms,” he said.

 

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{ 95 comments… read them below or add one }

J-rock March 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Open water Deep-sea vigilantism? Nice! I think I know what the next action movie will be.

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carloscardoso March 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm

That´s how Expendables begins.

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StandingBlackWolf March 29, 2012 at 7:58 am

Can't we just all learn to get along with each other HUH?

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Hickelbilly March 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Legality. Bet the country that benefits from the booty has a law against it.

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dswilli March 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Witout a doubt.

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@Jasongadgetguy March 22, 2012 at 3:54 pm

isn't this more of a job for Aquaman? he doesn't get enough press as it is.

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tiger March 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Even the other Superfriends laugh at Aquaman. Only The Super twins were lamer.

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Lance March 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Good way to do it. Just hate how Russian and European companies got all the anti pirate work off Africa and the US got hardly nothing.

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blight_ March 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Well, all the shippers tend to be European anyways. Greek magnates et al.

And of course, Europeans will buy European, just as we Americans expect to buy American.

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Jack Handy March 23, 2012 at 9:24 am

I think all Europeans expect to buy Chinese and all Americans expect to buy Chinese.

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blight_ March 23, 2012 at 9:29 am

That's only true of some products, like printers, hard drives, coffee machines, knife sets, bookshelves, refrigerators…

And as long as they have Euro/American brands, then people are deceived into thinking they are Euro/American products.

I am tempted to start a Satirical Buy Chinese campaign showing brand names of every company that manufactures junk in the PRC. It'd be a hell of a list.

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blight_ March 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm

….?

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Jim March 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm

The US has very few flagged vessels in the area, why should we get any of that business. Get rid of the b.s. laws that make it stupid to flag here and you might have had a point.

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blight_ March 29, 2012 at 9:37 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_Marine_Act_

Going to start digging through the USC soon…

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Mike March 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I can see at least 4 security risks just eyeballing the story…still, if the ships are attacked by pirates, then all applicable force shold be used against the pirates…in short, turn 'em into a pink mist…and videotape the event for the Somalis, "pour l'encouragement des autres", so to speak..

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SFODdashD_Delta March 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm

D'accord,

I was a Delta, and a good buddy from DEVGRU (at the time and to this day commonly known as SEAL Team Six) served with them many years ago. The best thing, I think, is to get some DEVGRU sharpshooters out there off Somalia (please do not call us "snipers") and set the ROE's at, "fire close if they seem suspicious, a bow shot. If they fire back, unleash all weapons, taking into account the precise aiming and destruction level required to get the hostages out safe and sound. And send some good SEALS out to silently board the ship and take out the Tangos.

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blight_ March 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm

It would be nice to simply sic SOCOM on Somali pirates, but it represents personnel taken from AfPak. More places to be means deployment tempo is kicked up or forces are more scarce. Then again, Somalia might be a vacation compared to Afghanistan…

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Doug March 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Hoo-yah, brother!

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guess March 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Legality of what?
If the country the vessel is flagged from allows the vessel to have weapons on board, as long as vessel is in international waters they are not violating any ones rules

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blight_ March 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm

"If the country the vessel is flagged from allows the vessel to have weapons on board"

I guess we'll just flag for the nations with the wackest laws, just like every merchantman of the seas goes to Panama or Liberia instead of Norway.

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tiger March 22, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Remember only the USA has that 2 nd Amendment. Other nations are funny about arms. Besides you can't stay at sea indefinitely. Those guys will get tired of the same dvd's after a while.

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blight_ March 22, 2012 at 7:30 pm

It's not only that, it's also where you register your ships. If Liberian ship registry rules prohibit firearms aboard ship, then obviously you need to re-register your vessel.

As for the Second Amendment, the other issue is whether or not American ship registration rules have onerous registration fees, require nagging oversight rules and prohibit carrying "Destructive Devices"; and require all heavy machine guns to have NFA tags. I think I'd rather register under the Liberian or Filipino flag…

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guess March 22, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Actually my take on it was that these particular vessels were staying out practically indefinitely. The reason they needed them was allot of countries have issues with armed vessels entering their ports. Hence the guns stay at sea

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TMB March 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm

What applicable laws are there with regards to transferring arms between ships in international waters? A floating armory is only a step away from becoming a floating gun market. Even if the transaction is between two western companies, some country is going to have issues with weapons and cash trading hands out there.

I'm all for cargo ships arming themselves since the navies of the world simply aren't big enough, but I can see where the proverbial waters can get murky down the road.

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guess March 22, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Technically its not a transfer. The company that owns the boat, owns the guns
So freighter stops at “armory” takes on armed security team, and before they put into port or when they leave dangerous waters they drop off armed security team on another “armory”

stephen russell March 22, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Wow, whole New Marine Industry: Arsenal ships.
Reuse offshore rigs, seized cargo ships, yachts etc for Fwd Ammo Dumps.
Rotate security Team to guard & move boat.
Adopt cruise line model?
Hire cruise lione for Food Services under contract.
Reuse any sizable ship & modify for armory use any ocean.
Radical.
$$$$$$$.

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Guest March 28, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Why not just use a boomer that has been removed from the ICBM service. They can stay on location almost indefinitely, have the weapons storage capacity and monitoring already built in, and with the knowledge that Tomahawks and MK 48's can be loaded onboard, I BET that the pirate ships won't come ANYWHERE NEAR THEM!!

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blight_ March 29, 2012 at 1:38 am

Pretty sure the Navy thinks keeping TLAM on hand for Iran, AfPak, Syria and China is more important than being macho against Somali pirates. It's of little importance to the Navy if ships are captured by pirates…except when they are oil tankers or civilian cruise liners.

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Garry Owen March 23, 2012 at 9:05 am

Someone develop a floating gallows.

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blight_ March 23, 2012 at 11:07 am

It's a big ocean, and dead men tell no tales.

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Matt March 23, 2012 at 10:02 am

SO we're worried about people trying to STOP PIRATES rather than stopping pirates. The world is a crazy place.

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SJE March 25, 2012 at 10:42 pm

I think the concern is that the floating arsenal ships could just be a weapons mart for the pirates, which makes it harder to stop them.

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blight_ March 26, 2012 at 1:06 am

I guess it would involve some degree of professionalism. We tend to assume that Somali pirates are illiterate and unprofessional, but that there is a chance they could one day do frogman ops and seize a vessel. More likely is they stumble a vessel in distress by, then attack the arms vessel; which is likely to have less operators aboard than the other boats. It'll probably be a tender with tons of contractors and cooks rather than trigger pullers.

Even of the Somalis don't capture them, destroying the tenders will impede counter-piracy ops.

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cactus March 28, 2012 at 5:03 am

Are you saying we should leave the pirates alone or are you just playing devil's advocate?

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blight_ March 29, 2012 at 1:42 am

I'm just being objective. And worse case scenario, some sleazy Liberian shipping magnate sets up a "maritime security company" and puts them in the grid off Somalia…then supplies one pirate gang over another, and tells them to attack rival shipping. It's only a matter of time.

joe March 26, 2012 at 4:17 am

Also; most countries with sufficiently lax weapon laws won't have any real safety codes – the main concern is the disconcertingly high odds of a magazine incident sinking the whole ship.

The actual legality of it is no big deal; if you're going to allow private militaries in on the act, they've gotta keep the guns somewhere.

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Miltonlee March 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Real crazy Matt, but it is the right idea.

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Chris gARLAB March 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

The reason for activity like this is due to the failure by all nations involved in countering piracy in taking a universal decision on weapons control.
If there is no legislation and a problem exists then a plan must be made to counter it in whatever manner possible until such time as anti-piracy legislation related to firearms is promulgated.
Yes there will be hiccups.
Just watch the media and an incident will occur in the near future.
Then watch the crisis management !

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Wade Moore March 29, 2012 at 9:34 am

Leave the legislators out of it, or let them ride the pirate boats with the ACLU and solve a couple of problems all at once. Just have a privaized 130 Spectre on call.

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Chris Garalnd March 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

The reason for activity like this is due to the failure by all nations involved in countering piracy in taking a universal decision on weapons control.
If there is no legislation and a problem exists then a plan must be made to counter it in whatever manner possible until such time as anti-piracy legislation related to firearms is promulgated.
Yes there will be hiccups.
Just watch the media and an incident will occur in the near future.
Then watch the crisis management.

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Ole Veteran September 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm

The root problem is an overabundance of utterly poor and desperate peoples coupled with a lack of viable governments in 'Horn of Africa' nations. They see these ships which they know contain millions of dollars worth of oil and goods go by and decide to capture them for ransom. Decades of violence in these areas have ensured great quantities of arms availability, and this is coupled with the 'cheapness of life' attitudes here. The totally lawless bands can't be controlled by the weak governments or by countries around them, and the OTHER nations of the world don't want to be accused of 'colonialism' if they sent expeditionary forces to wipe out the nests of pirates! These thieving brigands continually prey on neighboring countries, as well, who lack the arms for their own defenses.

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Eric March 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm

In '03 during the build up for OIF my old Unit, Small Craft Co, sent 15-Marine Dets to attach to F.A.S.T. CO DET 5th Fleet in Bahrain to do the same thing.

We launched Security missions out of Souda Bay & Al Fujairah, UAE taking ships past HOA & thru Hormuz. Each Marine was armed w/a M-16A4 & M9, all Tm Ldrs had 203s. Each Det had 1 .50M2 & 2x 240Gs.

12miles off the coast of their Port call we were required to disarm & lock down all weapons before transferring via Tug to our next ship usually cutting squares nearby in Int'l Waters until we were available.

It was 1 of my best deployments, all we had was a our Weapons, a Sat Phone, & Civilian Clothes (however we wore Cammies once on Guard).

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Navy retired March 29, 2012 at 2:53 am

Yes but that was military, and they kept proper safety procedures and protocols. Private firms I am a little concerned. The government military units can't be everywhere. This is a good idea but tactically dangerous. Set up some rules and country protocols, don't hire trigger happy mercs and yoou can save the firms money and keep the govts. out of it.

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David R Ball March 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Why is a news story? It's not like a private company has a DDG or BB or CG do they? No there are storing weapons and BTW the maritime industry has rules regarding this issue.It's only a concern when and where the ammo is stored, a fire at sea is bad enough having to fight one when your ammo decides it's not your friend is worse.What is needed are the same kind of barrack ships that the U.S. Navy use in port. Just pull it in port during bad storms.

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Chris .Parlow March 30, 2012 at 5:12 am

Why not use one of the older ships the Americans have in the mouth ball feet get every sea going country to thow in say 80,000 to 100,000 to get them fixed up so their under power, We could Ez put to sea 5 or 6 of them? Use one of the biger cargo ships like the 117 ALKs class ships to act like a mother ship for the rest it can refule and land a chopper its even has its own guns 5inch 50s and 40m also .50cal great lockers and many decks to store things a small fleer would need why wast a lot of money when theirs great ships just siting around??

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Richard S March 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm

"L'adace, l'adace, toujours ladace"

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Morty March 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Kick Ass

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Hickelbilly March 26, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Here Am I, Kilroy was here.

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Erich March 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm

How strange the world is shaking out but it is again the classic of the haves versus the have nots. Since there never will be a balance that everyone will be equally cared for we and our future generations will continue this struggle until someone hits the button just like the Sky Pilot does everytime in Slaughter House Five and starts the cycle over again.

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X-Navy March 27, 2012 at 5:26 pm

The answer is mini guns forward and aft, port and starboard on every ship with a 8 man team running 12 on 12 off. This would completely solve the piracy problem. Might even help resolve the population issues in somolia. Why does every country have to make such a big issue out of a problem that can be resolved so easily!

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Capt. Brock, (Ret.) March 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I was a Delta, and a good buddy from DEVGRU (at the time an to this day commonly known as SEAL Team Six) many years ago. The best thing, I think, is to get some DEVGRU sharpshooters out there off Somalia, and set the ROE's at, "fire close if they seem suspicious, a bow shot. If they fire back, unleash all weapons, taking into account the precise aiming and destruction level required to get the hostages out safe and sound.

And if ordered to, the DEVGRU's I have known, could be under and upon the Tango ship in minutes, silently, and take every hostile out. Game over.

And Deltas and SEALS compete, but we also share in training. We all cross-train in HALOS, HAHOS, silent swimming, infiltration and exfiltration. The SEALS tend to be bigger and stronger (try Hell Week) and us Deltas tend to be think things out more.

I'm past that now, due to the passing of time, but for my younger active comrades in DEVGRU, us Deltas, and every other soldier.. mess with us at your peril. And all of the Special Forces are trained to create friendships whenever in country, because that can be a force multiplier, if done with proper judgment.

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SEALDELTASASDEVGRU March 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm

If you were a Delta you wouldn't say anything here, you are either a fool or a training dropout.

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blight_ March 29, 2012 at 1:40 am

Someone needs to make a commenting system like IntenseDebate except it will say VerifiedVet; and require proof of service (or DD-214 for the discharged).

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Tech33 October 4, 2012 at 9:48 am

So, who mans those weapons? Does the country of ship's registry supply the troops? Does America? Are they troops? Are they mercenaries? Hired by the company? So, what happens when the ship reaches it's final port of call? If it is in America (or Britain, or Germany, or any country at all) does that country allow an armed ship into port? Do we allow that armed merchant ship within our 12-mile limit? If the weapons are stowed, and the ship is boarded anyway, the weapons are now in the hands of the hostile forces, now what? (which is what the op article is all about in the first place)
There are many issues to be dealt with before arming the merchant ships.

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jason March 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Yes mini guns and a few at4′s wouldn’t hurt but then neither would a few 120mm’s

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Dave March 27, 2012 at 7:08 pm

It's not lack of guns that let's the pirates run free, it is the lack of guts in the Western world. We have the resources to clean the devils out at their bases and on the seas,
we just don't have the balls and common sense.
Dave

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blight_ March 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm

It's also the lack of priority of the anti-piracy mission.

The United States is commiting more to AfPak and winding down unfinished business. Going into Somalia may be popular for the right-wing, but the isolationists want the United States to pull in tendrils; so we can have a Navy like the Ming/Qing dynasty (shudder).

The left will correctly note that Somalia has Al Qaeda, but that it isn't a "base" (the base is actually Pakistan, which needs to be isolated).

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Shannon March 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm

See when the government can't do its job the private sector steps up. its a way it has always been, to bad nowadays the government tries to make em the bad guys and stop progress just because they are mad they couldn't get the job done.

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Mad Mac March 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm

How do you spell P-R-I-V-A-T-E-E-R-?

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blight_ March 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm

What's the worth of a pirate dhow in prize money? Not much. If there's no bounty for pirates, don't expect it to be well-paying.

Privateers make money by confiscation and the value of their captures. These are security guards. They make money by protecting cargoes and shipping.

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Jeff Roche March 27, 2012 at 8:37 pm

How can I get a job on one of these ships? Email me at ***************@***.***. Im a former Aviation Ordnanceman and worked Station Weapons at Naval Station Keflavik Iceland

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Robert Fritts March 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Any web locations with company contacts and employment applications? In the words of many former operators "being a civilian sucks"!

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USN4955 March 27, 2012 at 10:29 pm

i dont see the problem here. pirates want to fight unarmed people well ^%$# them as the saying goes kill'em all let god or allah sort them out.

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Sal March 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Yeah, how can I get joined up with these guys? I'm Ex Navy myself, I was in HC-4, a helicopter combat support squadron, I'm also an OIF and OEF veteran. If anyone knows how to get a job with these guys shoot me an email at magnumpi51@yahoo.com

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George Nameche March 28, 2012 at 7:01 am

I am a former US Navy vet and If I had the money and the US Navy mothball fleet had some ol PT boats they would sell I would purchase mayby six refurbish them take off the old torpedo tubes and arm them more mofern. They are fast and they would serve the purpose of protect against pirates. This just a fantasy thought I know.

George Korean conflict

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Bob Sullivan March 28, 2012 at 8:56 am

George Namache,

Where would you find such a thing? Very few left in existence.

I am very much in favor of putting a small detachment of 20 or so Marines on board every US Flagged vessel as a protection detail.

I personally do not like the idea of private Army's or what ever you want to call them. This is a can of snakes waiting to be spilled. It is one of the purposes of our Military forces.

There is a huge downside to relying on Private Contractors defending the seas, in the name of a independent and soverign country. This is a very bad idea.

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blight_ March 28, 2012 at 9:22 am

That leaves 99% of shipping traffic not flagged American to get nailed by pirates.

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Jim March 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Isn't it time to bring back the Q ships like WW2? You know what I mean, they are disquised to look like merchant ships but they are fully armed with drop down panels etc. They could even be legal if the congress grants them "letters of marque and reprisal" as in the constitution.

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MJH March 28, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Makes me think of the ships the Brit's and Germany had in WWI and WWII. Innocent looking cargo vessel until the side boards were dripped then the targeted ship found what big teeth they had. Do the same thing here and leave nothing of the pirates except a big hole in the water!

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Ted March 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Drones!

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Miltonlee March 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Again while we all fantasize about how to take care of the piracy problem, just have a large security company purchased a medium-size used cargo ship and armed to the teeth. Sail all the way up to the edge of a countrys boundary, charging a fee to the shipping company. Under contract of course. Have you ever seen what a 240 B can do to a wooden boat. It is awe inspiring, pieces of wood, hunks of flesh and bone flying everywhere. And guess what, the liberal media won't even know it happened and thereby remedying the problem. Just saying…………………………

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Jim March 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I like It!

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Ole Vet March 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Were I in charge of one of these floating arsenal ships, I'd not let ANYONE approach whom I didn't know; just blow 'em out of the water! This also means these ships must be big enough to staff them with enough people for watches to always be on guard, even from the 'fishing boats'(with or without guns) who may stray close! Long-range snipers would earn a premium!

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RNT March 28, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Historical perspective: are privateers with letters of marque going to make a come back? If the arsenal ship crew rescues a captured ship how do the original owners recompense the arsenal ship operators. Who has the senior claim? Do salvage laws apply? These and a great many other questions have interesting legal precedents. if a Government and NGO operate together, oh never mind…..

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Jim March 30, 2012 at 7:39 pm

How about the ship owner paying the privateer a percentage of the cost saved. Some of the ransoms were in the million dollar range so apayment of 250,000 to the privateer is a bargin, particularly if they eliminate the pirates at the same time.

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Hutch March 29, 2012 at 1:11 am

If some pirates are, in fact, destroyed while attempting to take over a ship, don't do anything except put the incident on U Tube for other pirates to see. Send the video from some small country that could not be traced, and leave it alone. Slowly but surely these attacks will stop when the supply of pirates is eliminated.

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Miuwdawg65 March 29, 2012 at 1:30 am

If they would have listened IBU-14 and the
Cowboys would have had all that mess secured. If you bleed the sharks will feed!

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Rick March 29, 2012 at 8:05 am

I just cannot fathom any reason for using deadly force against the poor pirates.. They are just doing the jobs that law abiding world citizens won't do. I really believe with compassion and understanding these derilects of life could be rehabilitated and become productive members of society.

Why must we always resort to violence to change the situation.

Tongue firmly in cheek!!!

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EHeassler, USN-Ret. March 29, 2012 at 9:23 am

Isn't the irony of it all just delicious. The same countries that can't get their act together to stop the pirates are now going to martial all of their law-making capabilities to promptly regulate the life out of the floating armories funded by private enterprise as a response to government's failure to act. Its farcical and would be funny if it just weren't for the small issue of real pirates threatening real lives and extorting real dollars from real shipping companies. We all pay for the resulting higher shipping fees and increased insurance rates.

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Anthony March 29, 2012 at 9:41 am

I have suggested to people before that Q-ships should be used to attract and ambush pirates. Q-ships were used by the japanese navy in WWII, they were disguised to appear to be merchants, but they had shallow drafts and were loaded with weapons. When a submarine attacked with a torpedo, the torpedo would likely pass below the hull resulting in a miss and the Q-ship would then kick it in gear and attack the submarine. Q-ships in the pirate case would be "slow" "unarmed" commercial vessel that would be irresistable to a pirate, a bait ship. When the pirates attack a full compliment of troops would then destroy the pirates. Any survivors should be tried and executed by the laws of the sea. Then drop of the bodies on the coast as an example to discourage further attacks. As long as the risk is low and the profit is high they will continue to attack.

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Ole Vet March 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Just had my comment 'deleted by the administrator' ! All i suggested was that we make a Q ship into one of the arsenal ships needed, anyway, and man it with volunteers. They could be chosen by raffle/lottery, or possibly even could PAY to be a volunteer! These volunteers could be the eager ones to 'rid us of sea-pests'!!

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Doug March 29, 2012 at 9:06 pm

This has to be supervised by strongest naval force in the area. These companies must answer to some authority to prevent them being a problem to society.

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Ole Vet March 29, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Doug, society already HAS a problem, the pirates! You're assuming these companies will, themselves, become pirates? You know THAT won't happen, as they haven't the continual source of manpower the various pirate ships have and the cargo shipper/owners would just get their OWN defense people, if it really becomes economically necessary!

These pirates also have supply ships out there so the speedy little boats can be re-supplied with fuel, arms, people. THESE are what are really needed to be eliminated|! The shore-bound small boats don't have much range capability without them, and shores can be avoided for the most part.

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BMC(SW)USN-Ret March 30, 2012 at 9:08 am

As the current administration continues to downsize our Navy, this might be a new opportunity for all the sailors who will be out of work soon. These security companies could benefit from the great windfall of highly trained people who can provide the type of seamanship and security skills that will perform at the level needed to stop any pirate in their tracks. Imagine how effective these security forces will be if they have several former Navy SEAL's working for them. The floating armeries could be amnned by a variety of Navy ratings such as BM, GMG, QM, EN, MM, etc. All of these ratings are highly trained technicians in their respective jobs and any security company hiring them would have to spend minimal dollars in training them for the positions they would be filling. If I wasn't so damned old I'd apply for a job manning one of these armeries myself.

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blight_ March 30, 2012 at 9:15 am

Kind of sounds like how the PMCs siphoned off the retired/soon-to-be-retired military market. Mostly a market for 11B's; Rangers, airborne, special forces, SFOD-D and the like.

And who pays the bills? Shipping companies I presume. There's a point where the value of the cargo+ransom is projected to be less than the costs of security. At which point, you don't ship it through the Suez, raising costs even more.

Perhaps it may encourage the development of rail transportation from Europe to say, Yemen. Or Qatar/Bahrain.

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Chris Garalnd March 30, 2012 at 9:13 am

The issue here is private arsenal ships. It's not about length of shifts and ship defence or security team size.
There is a reason that this has come about. The main reason being the firearm regualtions of different states and their port authorities combined with the financial implications of these various and different restrictions. To attempt to make the system more streamlined private maritime security companies have come up with an alternative plan. The Arsenal Ship is the answer. However there are consequences to this activity. The first being that anti-gun community go into a frothy on gun control and let me tell you they can shout loudly around the world. The fact that these ships are out there needs to be addressed by a seriously high authority. They have two options. Leave the ships to carry on with their mission or get international uniformity on firearm port access laws.

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Ole Vet March 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Re: Using a ship from the 'moth-ball' fleet……….A current U.S. Navy ship is maintained by a large array of support facilities, shore establishments, back-up parts storage, not to mention a skilled group of maintenance personnel on board.

Now, translate a deteriorated old, obsolete ship, missing much of it's original WWII or prior maintenance machinery, the rest rusted/corroded, let alone any modern equipment, attempting to operate as a ship of the line in the world of today? Make no mistake, today's weapons are much more accurate and deadly than WWII's were, as well.

There are many, trigger-happy types eager to take pot-shots at anything which moves. You could set up a lottery for the hordes which would volunteer. You probably even could SELL slots to many. This STILL wouldn't get the trained bunch needed to keep these old rust-buckets afloat and operating. Many ex-Navy, or retirees could be hired, but they won't do it unless they're suitably compensated. Find the money, first!

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Curtis March 31, 2012 at 9:47 am

As long as they stick to fighting piracy without becoming pirates themselves, I say have at it. I'm sure the shipping companies would rather invest in a little prevention than figure out how to get their ships and crews back. Now when they start calling it "protection money".. hmmmm..

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Jim March 31, 2012 at 12:11 pm

"X-Navy" summed it up nicely…a very easy remedy. wtfu!

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Jim March 31, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Hey "Nick"…you must have your name stamped on the back of your belt…savvy???

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Bob Sullivan March 31, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Ole Vet,

Those WW2 mothballed ships were scrapped more than 30 years ago. You used them when you shaved in the 70's. Old and obsolete is 30 or less years old. Even most of the older of the newer ones have gone to the bottom or have been scrapped.

The few WW2 era ships that are left are museums or monuments. The same is planned for us as well.

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Zspoiler May 9, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Remember the German Q-ships during the Second World . Just send out some ships like that. with Navy or Civilian operators. And when the pirates attack these ships.And SUPRISE! SUPRISE ! They end up in Davy Jones Locker. It will give them something to think about.

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B S September 6, 2012 at 11:04 am

Fuck the pirates, kill the lot!!!!!!!!!! blow them out the water, if they think they can take lives, then the forfit there own!!!

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AbbyPlew November 28, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Sure they could do that they've got no problem in producing a heavy-duty schroff enclosures to pack everything safely especially what they will be storing and shipping will be ammunitions and will create an arsenal factory.

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blight_ March 29, 2012 at 1:41 am

If you're thinking Tripoli, that was just to burn the Philadelphia to the waterline.

It took a mercenary force from Egypt to hit the Tripolitanians, plus a naval squadron run by a commodore to finally bring Tripoli to its knees.

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