Hi, I’m just about to start a cadetship in the UK and someone was asking me what I thought about piracy.
In my opinion, there is a very simple solution, its called a flame thrower, such as they used to clear bunkers in WW2. I would defy any pirate to climb over the railing or even carry on up the rope when he sees a 20ft long burst of flame fly over his head.
A flame thrower has several advantages over any other “deterrant”.
- It is a very visible deterrant. Give it a quick blast to put them off!!!
- It does not require ammunition, except for fuel (petrol) and a propellant (nitrogen)
- You can lower the range by lowering the pressure, less risk to the ship and operator etc.
- Fire proof clothing is readily available and can be worn by the operator
- Most ships don’t carry particularly flammable materials on their deck, and any damage to the railings is likely to be minimal
- They’re fairly simple devices, tried and tested, and need little maintenance unlike guns.
- Ownership is unrestricted in most countries (though UK is an exception)
- Even on a tanker I would say its more likely that capture by pirates would lead to a fire than careful use of a flamethrower (a family member was a chief eng for shell when a couple of their tankers got hit during the first gulf war, but suffered only minor damage)
- If said pirate does still attempt to climb over the railing and is subjected to a good torching he has the means to readily extinguish himself by letting go off the rope, so its hardly leathal
Thoughts and opinions please.