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Taiwanese Captain Killed by US Ordnance during AP Operations July 24, 2011

Posted by Chris Mark in Piracy & Maritime Security, weapons and tactics.
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According to the Taipei times a Taiwanese shipping captain was killed when when the US Navy disabled the JCT 68 with munitions during anti-piracy operations.  The ship had been hijacked and used as a pirate “mothership” since March 30, 2010.  This post will no go into great detail on this particular event rather let this be yet another example of why it is too late to act AFTER the pirates have taken control of the ship.  Rudyard Kipling wrote about the British combat in Afghanistan.  His poem the Young British Soldier was intended to provide both insight into the situation as well as direction for young soldiers.  One of the last stanzas says:

“When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen”

The point of this post is that in some instances being captured by certain people is so horrific that it is likely better to “…go to your Gawd like a soldier” than be captured.  I was in Somalia in 1994 and have seen first hand some of the atrocities that people who have been born and lived in a persistent state of combat can inflict upon their fellow man.  While this post is not intended to articulate these atrocities I would suggest that whether on the plains of Afghanistan or on a ship being hijacked by Somali pirates, one is better served to take any action possible to keep being placed in their hands.

So what is the answer to the increasingly aggressive and violent pirates?  From a tactical perspective it is a comprehensive practice of defense in depth with the final piece being professionally trained and experienced armed guards on ships.  Certainly from a strategic level we all want their to be stability in Somalia to deal with the issue but as of right now it is imperative that shipping companies take steps to ensure their crews do not fall into the hands of Somali pirates.

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