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Weapons: A Pirate Friendly Cannon
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May 20, 2011: A British firm has developed a non-lethal (most of the time) weapon for keeping Somali pirates from getting close enough to board your ship. The $23,000 "Somali Stinger" is a compressed air cannon that can fire a "shotgun shell" full of golf ball size projectiles, moving at up to 210 meters (650 feet) per second at targets up to 550 meters away. When hit by one of these projectiles, the victim will be hurt, but not seriously injured. The cannon can also fire nets (to entangle the propeller of the pirate's speedboat), or smoke grenades. If all this does not stop the pirates, it will at least entertain them.

Non-lethal weapons are important when you are dealing with Somali pirates, as these fellows are very media savvy. Kill some of them, and you will be criticized by a growing chorus of journalists who do not tolerate that sort of behavior. Maybe that's just professional courtesy, but it is the way it is.

 

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jamesdempsey       5/20/2011 8:00:39 AM
Golf balls against rpgs! for f*~ks sake. A simple .50cal or two on a ship would be a nice deterrent !  What exactly is the issue with arming merchant ships ?  I take it thats it got to do with a ship carrying arms entering the different ports around the world and violating the local laws. The international navies present in the seas Somalia needs to start disappearing a few of these guys and soon the rest will get the message

 
 
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Sty0pa       5/20/2011 10:02:05 AM
Yes, the article is 99% wrong when it says that the non-lethal goal has anything to do with preventing negative press.
It has everything to do with local government prohibitions on lethal weaponry on ships in local ports.

Personally, I think a smart, well-capitalized entrepreneur could plant a freighter at the entry to the Red Sea, and perhaps one or two at the territorial waters limit on the shipping lines to India and  South Africa.  This would act as an 'arming station' - any shipping line could establish a standing contract for their ships to be fitted with a couple of .50 cals and a box of assault rifles on entry into the pirate zone, and then to be checked-out as turning in this gear as they depart the zone.  That would certify for subsequent ports that the vessels are no longer armed with lethal weapons having exited the danger area.

I bet you could make some serious cash. 
 
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WarNerd       5/21/2011 7:11:40 AM

Yes, the article is 99% wrong when it says that the non-lethal goal has anything to do with preventing negative press.
It has everything to do with local government prohibitions on lethal weaponry on ships in local ports.

Personally, I think a smart, well-capitalized entrepreneur could plant a freighter at the entry to the Red Sea, and perhaps one or two at the territorial waters limit on the shipping lines to India and  South Africa.  This would act as an 'arming station' - any shipping line could establish a standing contract for their ships to be fitted with a couple of .50 cals and a box of assault rifles on entry into the pirate zone, and then to be checked-out as turning in this gear as they depart the zone.  That would certify for subsequent ports that the vessels are no longer armed with lethal weapons having exited the danger area.

I bet you could make some serious cash. 
The better firms that provide armed guard personnel already operate this way. 
 
The tricky part of your plan is making sure that there are crew members on board that are trained to use the weapons effectively, otherwise the ship's crew may only piss-off the pirates as they burn through the ammo, and get themselves killed in revenge.  This is the argument that the insurance companies make against this scheme, and it has merit.
 
I am beginning to believe that the only practical solution may be to route most of the major traffic around the region, including the Suez Canal.  The loss in trade, tariffs, and tourism to the local countries will force them to take direct action against the pirates, including attacks on land as part of a coalition, like in Libya.  Since the attacks will be carried by African and Arab troops, not those of a western power, the media attention will be much less, as will that of the 'human rights groups'.
 
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georgert    WTF?   5/21/2011 7:19:51 AM
Golf balls? Is that better than the current tactic of using harsh language?
 
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trenchsol       5/21/2011 12:15:22 PM
Another solution is to kill more pirates and keep killing them. If that happens too often, journalist will grow tired and go find something else to amuse themselves with.
 
DG

 
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YelliChink       5/21/2011 12:18:48 PM

Golf balls against rpgs! for f*~ks sake. A simple .50cal or two on a ship would be a nice deterrent !  What exactly is the issue with arming merchant ships ?  I take it thats it got to do with a ship carrying arms entering the different ports around the world and violating the local laws. The international navies present in the seas Somalia needs to start disappearing a few of these guys and soon the rest will get the message




 
Very well said.....

 
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gf0012-aust       5/31/2011 8:29:49 PM

Personally, I think a smart, well-capitalized entrepreneur could plant a freighter at the entry to the Red Sea, and perhaps one or two at the territorial waters limit on the shipping lines to India and  South Africa.  This would act as an 'arming station' - any shipping line could establish a standing contract for their ships to be fitted with a couple of .50 cals and a box of assault rifles on entry into the pirate zone, and then to be checked-out as turning in this gear as they depart the zone.  That would certify for subsequent ports that the vessels are no longer armed with lethal weapons having exited the danger area.

I bet you could make some serious cash. 

some MPMC's do this already
 
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Jimme       6/1/2011 3:34:29 AM

Yes, the article is 99% wrong when it says that the non-lethal goal has anything to do with preventing negative press.

It has everything to do with local government prohibitions on lethal weaponry on ships in local ports.




Personally, I think a smart, well-capitalized entrepreneur could plant a freighter at the entry to the Red Sea, and perhaps one or two at the territorial waters limit on the shipping lines to India and  South Africa.  This would act as an 'arming station' - any shipping line could establish a standing contract for their ships to be fitted with a couple of .50 cals and a box of assault rifles on entry into the pirate zone, and then to be checked-out as turning in this gear as they depart the zone.  That would certify for subsequent ports that the vessels are no longer armed with lethal weapons having exited the danger area.




I bet you could make some serious cash. 
I think a better Idea would be to have a two flotillas on either side of the pirate zone and have escort ships for hire that are armed and armored and very fast. That way the no ship has to worry about training their crews for combat or breaking any locale rules. The Insurance savings alone should make it worth while to pay to be escorted especially since any fighting will not be done aboard.
 
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gf0012-aust       6/1/2011 5:00:30 AM


I think a better Idea would be to have a two flotillas on either side of the pirate zone and have escort ships for hire that are armed and armored and very fast. That way the no ship has to worry about training their crews for combat or breaking any locale rules. The Insurance savings alone should make it worth while to pay to be escorted especially since any fighting will not be done aboard.


there are over 65 navy vessels in the NE African area of ops now - quite a few have organic air - they struggle to keep in control as they are patrolling over 2.5m sq miles of ocean
 
its not always possible to place fats skimmers in likely areas as the pirates are moving further out to blue water and away from the green water traffic areas and sea lanes.
 
they are now surging 1200km into the ocean "proper" and navies are struggling to maintain an adequate watching brief.
 
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Sty0pa       6/1/2011 10:03:03 AM

I think a better Idea would be to have a two flotillas on either side of the pirate zone and have escort ships for hire that are armed and armored and very fast. That way the no ship has to worry about training their crews for combat or breaking any locale rules. The Insurance savings alone should make it worth while to pay to be escorted especially since any fighting will not be done aboard.
there are over 65 navy vessels in the NE African area of ops now - quite a few have organic air - they struggle to keep in control as they are patrolling over 2.5m sq miles of ocean
its not always possible to place fats skimmers in likely areas as the pirates are moving further out to blue water and away from the green water traffic areas and sea lanes.

they are now surging 1200km into the ocean "proper" and navies are struggling to maintain an adequate watching brief.

But how many of those Navies are practicing 'catch and release' bullshit?
1) guard the ships that pay for guarding, don't try to patrol a million square miles of ocean 'hoping' to catch a pirate who happens to be acting as a pirate at that moment (who, admittedly, are occasionally hard to distinguish from a fishing vessel with the certainty needed to be draconian)
2) any non-naval vessel approaching a guarded ship will get one warning shot across the bow.  If they do not immediately heave-to or depart, SINK them and make sure there are no survivors.
3) if they flee, it would be satisfying but not commercially necessary to have a 'chase' escort, with, say, an old 4" gun mounted (one of those ancient bofors 40mm duals would be glorious).  This vessel could chase the pirate boat(s) back to their mothership, and sink them with impunity from standoff range.

Seriously, the pirate trade will never go away, but it will become a lot less attractive if the likelihood of surviving < the chance you'll never be seen again. 
 
 
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