Should Weapons Be Allowed Aboard Ship?

Our latest post "<span class=“previous]</span>Top 10 Anti-Piracy Weapons For Future Use In Somalia” received a record amount of email so we put together a poll: "<span class="previous]</span><span class=“next]Should Weapons Be Allowed Aboard Ship?”<br><br>What are your thoughts?<br></span>

yes, I think we should be able to have weapons on all vessels

Officially, most companies have no weapons policies. So they’re on there, all right. At least on tugs. I can’t speak for deep draft.

Well I can say that I have personally used the LRAD system shown in the post while off the coast of Iraq and it is a great system. Lethal weapons are only as effective as the hands that carry them. To carry weapons the mariner needs to be trained and mentally prepared to use them, possibly incurring more loss of life then they would have without. While in my experience in anti-piracy, I believe they (the pirates) lack the courage and conviction to face an armed opponent at sea, I’m not sure I would be willing to gamble my crews lives that it will always be that way. <br>Doc

<P>i would rather die fighting then to be held captive and shot in the back of the head while on my knees</P>

To my knowledge (that is merely what I have read in several articles and here on this site) is that pirates don’t often kill the crew. They are more likely to want to hold them captive for ransom. Though I very much doubt that that would be an even remotely pleasant experience.<br><br>I am against lethal weapons aboard ships. The only thing you can do with most lethal weapons is kill people. So let’s presume you would kill a pirate. What would happen next? You are not a cop and you are not a soldier. You would have to have a license for these weapons and what would it mean legally to attack and most likely kill a pirate that was attacking? What would it mean for your mental health to have killed someone? Even though they have no business attacking and boarding ships, they are still human beings. Could you even image a scene with the decks soaked in blood?<br><br>Also you are much more likely to hurt your crew mates in a gun fight (with lethal weapons I assume we’re talking guns). I am all for having the right to defend yourself and your ship, but lethal weapons on board? It is more likely to turn a ship into a chaotic wild-west scene with vigilante justice. And although they have no excuse, the pirates would also be more likely to shoot first and take hostages later, if they learn that crew members have started carrying lethal weapons. I am with Doc on this one.<br>

This makes me think of the movie “Under Seige” with Steven Segall, should I post this in the thread for favorite “ship movies”? <br>Kinda lame flick, unless maybe you been on the Missouri and recognize some of the places the scenes were shot. Ive sailed with a guy that spent a few years on the “Misery”. It was cool to hear him comment on some of the scenes. <br>Anyhow, back on subject, Im for weapons on ships, if only for target practice on boring days.<br>But using lethal force? Thats a moral issue that many people arent prepared to make a decision on.<br>I believe the Singapore government approves using lethal force against a threat to your vessel, but Id be prepared to prove you are actually being attacked. Sure many of the “ponga boats” out there will sneak up to you, and when you confront them, they say they are using your deck lights to help them fish, but you know they are really casing out the ship and seeing how vigilant you are, turn your back and find your mooring lines are missing. Are you willing to kill somebody for making off with a mooring line?<br><br>Anyhow, I think vigilance is key to anti-piracy. Let them know you see them, and you are prepared to take action on them, even if it is only a firehose. Use of evasive manouvers if you are underway, most of these ships nowdays have z-drives that would make it a piece of cake to mow over a threatening boat. <br>They are looking for the soft-target. If they see someone standing watch on the deck, theyll keep posing as fishermen until they find an easier target.<br>Some ships even post “scarecrows” on the deck so at a distance, it looks like there is someone leaning up against a bulkhead. Fire monitors blasting away while coming into port, a vigilant roving deck watch…<br><br>Fortunately Ive never had to use force to deter anyone from boarding a ship, but I did have to tell a guy posing as an agent in Singapore to get the fuck off the brow, tell “fishermen” to back off or use evasive manouvers to avoid them dropping fishing gear (accidentally-on purpose) in front of us…<br><br>Im for weapons on ships, but only for “plinking” but that is a hobby I like to practice in my free time. Personally, I dont trust a few of my own shipmates with a lethal weapon in their hands! Trusting them to run the crane safely is enough! lol!<br><br>

What if you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon that you use when you travel to and from work for personnel protection in the usa and you sail in the usa, and you keep it under lock and key (question) can it be kept on board if the company dose not have a restriction on this. what are the federal rules if any on this.


Flag-state issues arise. Canada comes to mind. No weapons, and we must inspect for same, and log the inspection.

And to avoid the eventual battle, no, a tugboat isn’t US sovereign territory. Just like every ship arriving in the US isn’t sovereign territory to it’s country.

To the original question; YES.

I agree with some of the above: vigilence will avoid 99% of these situations. a well lit vessel travelling in a close convoy will be safe: it’s easier for them to find a softer target. this has worked for me a couple times recently off of Nigeria.
no weapons please. can you imagine Mutt (from another post on this site) with a gun?

Question: Should weapons be allowed aboard ship? Answer: Yes

I say play offense. Arm everyone and post a big sign on the side of the ship in every language…hell paint it on the side of the ship. if you approach and try to board you will be shot. THAT WILL MAKE ANYONE TRYING TO BOARD YOUR VESSEL THINK TWICE.

There is no reason that small arms shouldn’t be a part of every sailors training and every ship’s inventory.

I served in the USN on Operation Vigilant Mariner in 2004-2005 on MSC Contract and MSC vessels. I didn’t meet an officer on board, or (for the most part)an unlicensed sailor either, whom would be unable to grasp simple concepts of Use of Force or effectively utilize a firearm without some great tragedy being visited upon them.

I can see who is of predominately European mindset in some of these postings (“the pirates are people too”, come on, save that liberal humanist b.s. for the seattlePI blogs…) Human beings have a right to transit the world and labor in safety and security… if there isnt a body who can uniformly provide protection(I believe the UN is a joke) in a region of the world, the individual should have the means to secure his or her own person. When a man or woman unlawfully points a weapon at you, then that person should be considered to be forfeit of their right to live.

Each ship could carry 4 shotguns, and 4 rifles in .308 caliber. The rifles could be equipped with optics allowing for semi-precision shooting. I cant think of a pirate accustomed to burst fire from the hip in a rocking boat who will be more accurate than a sailor with a .308 rifle on a relatively stable platform such as a ship provides.

Also, equip the ships with LRAD, CS paint markers, etc… that way force could be used appropriately. I.e. pirates with knives, clubs, get CS’d and deafened. If they have RPG’s, a couple of 180 grain boattail FMJ’s would be appropriate.

ABSOLUTELY!!! (but only after sufficient training)