Monday, May 25, 2009

Arming Merchant Ships: An Opposing View

There is lots of debate about civilian merchant ships becoming "armed" in response to the steady rise of piracy. "Armed" meaning that either the crew is trained and outfitted with weapons (probably handguns and assault rifles) or that armed security guards are contracted to provide security (as in Blackwater). The RAND Corporation has offered a commentary by Peter Chalk, a Senior Political Scientist with an impressive bio, that presents an opposing view - that security should not be present on merchant ships. The article is entitled "Opposing View: Keep Arms Off Ships" and it first appeared in USA Today on May 4, 2009. Mr. Chalk raises several points that deserve merit - such as the cost of private security contractors, laws that do not allow armed personnel on vessels, liability issues, and legal authorities. Hmmmmm . . . . not sure I agree. In my mind there is nothing like a couple of pirate skiffs getting hosed by machine gun fire (let one or two pirates live to tell the tale) that will "discourage" future attacks. But that is just me. Click here for more news about maritime security and for a listing of firms that offer maritime security services.

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