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Unarmed American crew attacked by pirates, captain hostage.. *rolleyes*

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by CharlesAFerg, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. CharlesAFerg

    CharlesAFerg Beaverton Active Member

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    John Reinhart, chief executive and president of Maersk Line Ltd., said the crew can try to outrun the pirate boats or turn fire hoses on anyone trying to board the ship, "but we do not carry arms."

    I sure hope that the FBI "negotiators" are the Hostage Rescue Team, because there's nothing left to negotiate with these people, except to buy time and fool them to give us an opportunity to kill them. Read about how they said they were going to switch for one of the pirates that was captures for the captain, but they just kept the captain and ditched. Shows that they aren't going to give anything up. I will never understand the stupidity of the UN arms embargo in the region, because all of the militants there have weapons, anyway, and there is no enforcement to punish those caught with them.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/04/09/ship.hijacked/index.html?iref=topnews

    U.S. negotiators try to persuade pirates to free captain

    NORFOLK, Virginia (CNN) -- Negotiators aboard a U.S. Navy warship are trying to secure the release of an American freighter captain who is being held by pirates on a lifeboat off the coast of Somalia, according to Maersk Line Ltd.

    The pirates are the same four men who hijacked Capt. Richard Phillips' vessel, the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama, early Wednesday hundreds of miles off the Horn of Africa. The 20-person American crew later regained control of the vessel, which is owned and operated by the Norfolk-based Maersk Line Ltd.

    The U.S. Navy, which is in charge of the situation, requested the help of the FBI, and FBI negotiators in the United States are in touch with the crew of the warship, USS Bainbridge, a senior U.S. defense official said.

    Phillips has not been harmed, according to Maersk's last communication with the Navy, the shipping company's spokesman Kevin Speers said Thursday morning. Maersk is doing everything it can "to increase the chance of [a] peaceful outcome," Speers said.

    "We are encouraged that most of the crew is safe. They have been resilient and courageous throughout this crisis," he said. "But we will remain on watch, staffing our situation room and our family hot line until this situation is resolved and the captain is safely returned."

    The Maersk Alabama was on its way to Mombasa, Kenya, loaded with food aid when the pirates attacked it Wednesday. It was the first time in recent history that pirates targeted an American ship. Video Watch how pirates work off Somalia »

    The pirates reneged on their agreement to exchange Phillips for one pirate whom the crew had captured, according to the second officer of the ship, Ken Quinn. The pirate was released unharmed, according to Quinn, who spoke to CNN on Wednesday via a satellite call. Video Watch company spokesman say how captain is held »

    On Thursday, the Maersk Alabama began a 50-hour journey to Mombasa with an 18-person armed security detail on board, according to Capt. Joseph Murphy, the father of the ship's second in command. Maersk and U.S. military officials confirmed the cargo ship has left the area on Thursday, but would not say where it was heading for security reasons.

    The ship was hijacked 350 miles off Somalia's coast, a distance that used to be considered safe from pirate attacks. See how pirate attacks have increased »

    The U.S. Navy issued a warning several days ago to ships in the area that pirates were operating farther offshore. Video Watch former Navy captain discuss options »

    Quinn told CNN that the pirates were armed with AK-47 assault rifles. The ship's crew carried no weapons.

    Crew members managed to take one of the four pirates hostage, Quinn said. The crew -- apparently minus the captain -- locked themselves in the compartment that contains the ship's steering gear, where they remained for about 12 hours with their captive, whom Quinn said they had tied up.

    The three other pirates "got frustrated because they couldn't find us," he said.

    The pirates had scuttled the small boat they used to reach the ship, Quinn said, so Phillips offered them the Alabama's 28-foot lifeboat and some money.

    Crew members agreed to exchange their captive pirate for Phillips, Quinn said, but the pirates reneged on their agreement.

    "We returned him, but they didn't return the captain," Quinn said. Video Watch Quinn describe the hijacking to CNN »

    There are emergency rations to last 10 days on the lifeboat, but the conditions are most likely "uncomfortable," according to Murphy.

    "There's no toilet facilities or anything like that," he said. "The captain has a VHF radio, and I'm sure that he's in voice communication with the ship itself. The problem is, of course, that ... the [radio's] battery is going to die, and I'm not really sure how they're going to continue communication after that."

    It is common for crews of merchant vessels to travel through the area unarmed despite the risk of pirate attacks, experts said. An armed crew could provoke a firefight that would endanger the crew's lives or its cargo, which often contains flammable or explosive material.
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    John Reinhart, chief executive and president of Maersk Line Ltd., said the crew can try to outrun the pirate boats or turn fire hoses on anyone trying to board the ship, "but we do not carry arms."

    The vessel was carrying relief supplies for USAID, the U.N. World Food Program and the Christian charities WorldVision and Catholic Relief Services. The U.N. agency said its portion of the cargo included nearly 4,100 metric tons of corn-soya blend bound for Somalia and Uganda, and another 990 metric tons of vegetable oil for refugees in Kenya.

    CNN's Jason Carroll contributed to this report.
     
  2. jordanvraptor

    jordanvraptor Oregon City, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    If all they had were AK-47's, one M-60 machine gun would have made short work of them. In all seriousness, crews should carry sidearms at all times and shotguns available in gunsafes around the ship. This is bare minimum in my opinion.

    This unarmed crew is just another fine example of how well a gun free zone works...
     
  3. Weathermaker

    Weathermaker Washington Member

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    Yep. Next we'll be doing away with weapons aboard U.S. warships.
     
  4. 9MilMan

    9MilMan Milwaukie Active Member

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    Charles, that this could happen so easily was a shock to me as well. By the way, I just bought a bigger sailboat. And you can bet your @$$ that it is armed!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  5. tionico

    tionico Thurston County Well-Known Member

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    Israel ended their airliners getting hijacked when they had a second compartment built between the flight deck and the passenger area, bulletproof walls and door, and placed two armed guards inside. Funny how that worked...... and yet we honor the "gun free zone" when "happens" to be the same region these pirates operate in. Well, I believe it was President Jefferson who declared war on the islamowhackjob pirates two centuries ago. Went in and cleaned them out, he did. They were costing us too many lives, too much money. WHY do we insist on being such "nice guys" in dealing with fanatical and desparate thugs? ARM the stinking ships. Four .50 BMG with AP and incendiary belts, with crew trained to use them, would be a great start. Perhaps an 80 mm cannon or two, yeah, one from each wing of the bridge. Hey, how about using an unmanned aerial drone, video camera and capable of firing small missiles? Easily launched from the average merchant ship. Whenever a suspicious unknown vessel approaches within the safety zone, launch that baby, go and check them out. If they're up to no good, consign them to Davey Jones. These pirates will continue as long as there is profit in their activity. If they're dead, or thwarted, every time they sortie from their own coast, it will cease to be profitable. For that matter, why do not OUR military, instead of simply patrolling that region, institute a blockade of Somalia's coast. ANY unidentified vessel leaving will be followed, boarded, and if weapons found, the ship scuttled and those aboard captured as belligerents. Of course, our present weak-kneed appeaser will never do that. He'd rather talk than DO something about it. This will continue until we decide it won't.
     
  6. Spray-n-pray

    Spray-n-pray Battle Ground Moderator Staff Member Bronze Supporter

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    I saw an interview on the news with a guy who knew the captain personally. He was not merchant marine, but former SEAL. He described the reasons for civilian vessels for not being armed to have nothing to do with gun-free zones, but as a way to expedite shipping. When these kinds of boats pull into port, if they had weapons on board, it would dramatically increase the time in port to do all of the required customs paperwork for firearms declarations. It is simply a way to make their turnaround time shorter. Sorry I don't have more details, but it is something to think about, that there might be another reason for being unarmed. But before you all get bent out of shape, I fully agree that it is foolish to be unarmed in pirate-infested waters. I bet they will change policy now, though.
     
  7. swoop

    swoop Milwaukie, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Heard on the early news that the captain got away and and swam for it, but was recaptured. Seems like that would be a good time to blow that raft out of the water.
     
  8. RallySoob

    RallySoob Salem, OR Active Member

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    I read this as well. I've also read that they have to stop at every port along the way for inspection if they carried firearms. Without firearms on board they are allowed to skip certain ports. So basicaly its monitary value over human life as in everything else
     
  9. tionico

    tionico Thurston County Well-Known Member

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    So, rather than declare the high seas "gun controlled" areas, certain nations do it with their ports, effectively doing it on the high seas. OK, fine....

    I see no way any nation can require a vessel stop at a port simply because they are "passing by" with or without firearms. No nation's sovereignty extends to the high seas, only to their territorial waters.. three, sometimes twelve, miles offshore. No authority to require passing vessels to call at their ports.

    I also know that anything aboard a vessel owned or possessed by any crew is NOT part of that vessel's cargo. Customs and inspections do not apply. Now, when something LEAVES the vessel, that is another matter. The simple "fix" is to change the country's requirements to allow firearms aboard with no further requirements AS LONG AS they are secured aboard, do not go ashore, and will not be transferred into anyone else's hands whilst the ship is in port. If nations will not allow such a liberty, then perhaps they shoud suffer the loss of simply not having vessels call at their ports. Crates of arms in the hold to be delivered ashore is one thing. Small arms in possession of the ship's company are another, and there should be NO restrictions of them.
    Again, the "gun free" or "gun regulated" zones (in this case being some ports) has the effect of putting commercial vessels at risk of capture. If it were made the Master's responsibility to secure all arms when arriving in port, and he does so, say, in a secure safe, the simple declaration that no arms are in the hands of any aboard should satisfy any requirements of any port. Some international treaty should be enacted along these lines. Else the cost of shipping, already inflated from fuel and labour costs, will become prohibitive. Now a ship's been pirated a few hundred miles offshore, the nature of the game has changed.

    My question is: who rules the seas? A scraggly band of islamofascist terrorists in Somalia, or the free nations of the world? In terms of vessels, the score is about 34 Pirates, two Free Nations. In terms of money, the score is about $53M Pirates and MINUS a few million Free Nations. (time and expenses incurred in the largely ineffective "patrolling", dealing with the rotters, legal costs of the few trials of captured pirates) Again, its government beaurocracy and control-freakism at the root of it. And I'll go some VERY long odds that, if we were to somehow examine the restrictions and regulations of each seaport in the world in regards firearms, we'd find that the most restrictive and obnoxious are in those nations which, in general, are the most violent and dangerous.

    Used to be when a foreign vessel called at some port, they would be quarantined for some time to guard against infectious diseases. In time, a protocol for "pratique" was established, the Master would simply declare his ship's company in good health, and was allowed to bypass quarantine. Same thing should be done in regards firearms. Approashing a port, Captain would call for all arms to be tendered, he'd secure them in a safe in HIS quarters, request "firearms pratique" on his declaration the crew are now unarmed, game over. Leaving South Africa for Indonesia, he could then break out and rearm his crew.

    Gun control IS at the root of the piracy issue, and the issue will continue to inflict damage upon ALL free nations until gun control is relaxed to allow individuals and corporations to deal with their OWN defense. Face it,, just like in a big city, don't bother calling the cops, cause they'll be there in time to count the bodies, just as in Binghampton New York. Had ONE individual been armed and skilled in that Civic Centre besides the looneyboy, he'd not have got more than one or two. Waiting for the Coast Guard to show up and help is insane. And face it, once more those bent on doing harm ARE well armed, and THEY don't seem to have any problems with delays stopping at every port...... same game, different board.
     
  10. Weathermaker

    Weathermaker Washington Member

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    tionico,

    Very good outline...well written.
     
  11. RallySoob

    RallySoob Salem, OR Active Member

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  12. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    Another story on this:

     
  13. tionico

    tionico Thurston County Well-Known Member

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    Again, it comes down to vessels being permitted to carry, and use, suitable weapons. .50 BMG's will have a FAR greater range than the AK 47's commonly used by the pirates. 80mm cannon, with detonating ordnance, even better, and more capable. When half a dozen pirate vessels are consigned to Davey Jones a half mile from the ships they are attacking, those ashore who are contemplating piracy may well be deterred. Once more, gun control IS at the root of this silliness. What will it take for those being forced to surrender to the "regs" to defy them, and carry and use appropriate defensive implements? Who is it on here that says "if you're in a fair fight, your tactics really suck"? Turn that one on the pirates, assure they're NEVER AGAIN in a fair fight. THey will soon realise their tactics really suck, and perhaps go get a real job.
     
  14. ZeroRing

    ZeroRing 26th District, WA Active Member

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    THAT is what I was wondering... I guess it took too long for them to consult the lawyers for approval to change the ROE once the captain was in the water and trying to evade.

    I would think that the circumstances alone would have been enough to sink it the second the escaping captain was "wet". Something tells me the captain was probably thinking the same thing or he'd have never even bothered making the attempt. :(
     
  15. RallySoob

    RallySoob Salem, OR Active Member

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  16. ZeroRing

    ZeroRing 26th District, WA Active Member

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  17. tionico

    tionico Thurston County Well-Known Member

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    finally, 3 snipers took the 3 pirates out. All shots fired simultaneously. 'Pirates' now threat'n to retaliate on America.

    and they've already started, Read that just today another American ship was attacked, fured upon, sustained damage (bridge, mainly) but managed to fend off and avoid capture. The Navy vessel with the Maersk Captain aboard (transporting him to reunite with his ship) had to divert (yes, the Captain missed his reunion....) to assist. The French Navy also reported, today, having captured at least three pirates at sea, having tracked and observed them all night in response to yet another ship attack (again unsuccessful). The captured miscreants made statements that they are targeting American ships now.... though they'd "settle" for anything they could get.
    Also, the logistics of effectively patrolling this region are far worse than I had thought. About 20,000 vessels per year through this area, and it is several thousand square miles. When the second American ship was attacked today, the nearest US Navy vessel was three hours away..... a LONG time for a bunch of rascals, well armed and bent on terrorism and wealth, to do as they wish. Easily sufficient time to have succeeded in subduing the ship.
    Statements today by our new Secretary of State make claims we will be "getting tough" on the issue..... about bloody time. As far as I know, though, these past two attacks on American ships are the first. So far, it has been vessels flagged in other nations, though a few Yanks have been aboard captured ships. Mostly the pirates have been after vessels flagged in other nations. They've also recently begun operating far offshore, as much as two hundred fifty miles..... previously, few had ventured further than perhaps a hundred, and most were within eighty or so.
    Definitely an issue of gun control "benefitting" those bent on criminal activity. THEY are surely armed. The various ships' companies are not, due to controls, restrictions, regulations..... stupidity in spades. That MAY be changing, though........
     
  18. Collateral

    Collateral Monmouth Member

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