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Posted: 11/19/2008 1:25:04 PM EDT
On Fox News the State Dept. says the companies should do more to protect their own vessels: more lookouts, loud sirens, maybe armed guards.  Are cargo ships allowed to carry guns or does international maritime law prohibit it?

Link Posted: 11/19/2008 1:31:39 PM EDT
No law that I know of except customs issues.  I don't know what would happen if a ship coming to the US had a bunch of firearms that were not cargo.  THe Coast Guard would probably shit on themselves.
Link Posted: 11/19/2008 1:33:05 PM EDT
and the crew is usaully low dollar labor.

with zero connection to the cargo..   as in if someone with a gun wants it..  they will say .. here ya go .

Link Posted: 11/19/2008 1:37:52 PM EDT
Offensive weaponry (including small arms) makes a vessel a military combatant and subject to laws governing such vessels.

Nations may deny port access to combatants and there may be restrictions placed on the use of combatant vessels for the purposes of trade.

It is 100% political.



There is a fine line between what is an offensive weapon and what is not.  Many captains keep a handgun in the payroll safe and this is often considered a defensive weapon (if anyone ever even knows about it).  Vessels contracting to the US military and carrying their cargo often carry a number of small arms in the event that they are required to enter an internationally (that is, UN) declared warzone.

The horn of Africa is not considered a warzone, BTW.



The answer is that you certainly CAN carry as much weaponry and personnel as you want, but that might have detrimental effects on your ability to do business.
Link Posted: 11/19/2008 1:42:21 PM EDT
where can i go to sign up for pirate hunting? ill chill on a ship no problem. less restrictive ROE than deployment, even!
Link Posted: 11/19/2008 1:48:59 PM EDT
From one of the many pirate threads.

http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=789448&page=3

Originally Posted By freerider04:
Pay attention people, this is the last time I'm gonna say this.

THERE IS NO "INTERNATIONAL LAW" PROHIBITING WEAPONS ON BOARD SHIPS.

The majority of commercial vessels I have boarded have at least one gun on board.  Usually the Master and maybe a trusted Officer or two are the only ones with knowledge and access.  There are many reasons for this.

ISPS recommends armed guards for certain situations.

There are several commercial ships that have mounted weapons, most due to the cargo they carry.

Now, if a particular State decides to not allow guns on ships flying thier flag, that is thier right.

Modern pirates tend to run like hell when confronted with any sort of resistance.  There have been many, many vessels that have been saved from takeover due to the crew throwing garbage at the pirates alongside, directing firehoses at them, taking simple precautions like brining up acom ladders and jacobs ladders when transiting the area, and making "hard" turns.  

Very few hijackings involve killing any of the crew.  Out of all the attempts and successful hijackings this year, I believe only 5 people have died.  At least 2 were pirates, one was the Master of a ship that had a heart attack, and another was a crewmember that got sick and died.  It is cheaper for the agent or manager to pay the ransom to the pirates and get that money back from the insurer than it is to shoot at the pirates and have to pay death benefits and avoid lawsuits
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