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Dulce Bellum Inexpertis July 21, 2011

Posted by Chris Mark in Piracy & Maritime Security, weapons and tactics.
Tags: , , , , ,

Loosely translated as war is sweet to those who have never experienced it the latin phrase is particularly relevant today.  On LinkedIn and other sites, people are crying out for “shooting pirates on site!”.  While this sounds emotionally compelling at times, it should be carefully considered.  Many armed guards in the industry today have combat experience.  While these men (they are all men) are capable of action to prevent a ship hijacking each one will tell you that their preference is to see the ship out maneuver or out run the pirates rather than shoot a single shot.

It is always easy to view gunfights as depicted in movies.  The reality is a lot less entertaining and certainly more frightening than depicted.  It is always a bit dismaying to hear people talk of ‘killing pirates on sight’ and ‘bombing them into submission’.  While pirates are a plague that we need to protect against, we need to be cognizant of the consequences.

Currently there are estimated to be 29 ships and over 600 people being held by pirates in and around Somalia.  What would or could happen to the hostages if pirates were “shot on sight”?  Pirates in Somalia are currently demanding reparations from South Korea for an attack that killed several Pirates?  In addition, there rumor that Pirates are currently searching for some European ships that inadvertently killed some fishermen in the belief that they were pirates.   What will happen to the crews of the ships?

I am not advocating for a catch and release program or treating pirates with kid gloves.  The reality of defense is often more complex than it may appear.  While ‘shooting on sight’ may sound appealing, it is not quite as simple as it sounds.


1. Wayne Bisset - July 21, 2011

This is a similar situation to the way South Africa is trying to stop the Rhino poaching. Shooting the “little” men, who just get replace. The pirate story. Need a Selous Scout type ops. Hit the HQ, keep a few alive and force info out of them. Most likely find at the very top is some respectable rich European. No?

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