Sunday, November 06, 2005

Miscellaneous: Stupidity on the High Seas.

Via Zendo Deb, a little on the current prevalence of piracy on the high seas.

Folks, knowing this, why in the hell are so many ships out there totally unarmed, especially in this neck of the woods?!? The Horn of Africa has, historically, never been one of Earth's better neighborhoods; as far back as 1,500 BC, Egyptian bureaucrats would come out of the wine shop to find their chariot was up on blocks and their horses had been hot-wired. Yet now, in the middle of a global upswing in terrorism and insurgency, we have a whole boatload of future hostages Western tourists with more money than sense placing their futures in the hands of a ship's crew so placidly innocent that they didn't have so much as a super-soaker amongst them. What were they going to do in case of an attack? Dial 911? The last time I checked, 100 miles out to sea is pretty much outside of any police department's jurisdiction, and besides, cell phone reception is lousy out there anyway.

The price of one passenger's ticket would have covered a couple of Ma Deuces for boat-borne baddies, as well as purchasing enough shotguns to make the ship an unhealthy place to be for any wannabe Achille Lauro re-enactors in the bargain, plus trips to Valhalla to allow selected crewmembers a modicum of proficiency with the hardware. Folks, there are places on this earth where you are on your own, and few places moreso than outside territorial waters...


Anonymous said...

I could have sworn I read a passenger's account of being shown one of four .50 machine guns tucked away on a cruise ship. I had figured such precautions were customary.

So I was going to be a wiseguy and look up info regarding pleasure ship armaments, but I can't find a blasted thing. Lots of talk about "uniformed security" but no mention of their being armed. I would think there are at least some small arms on board, but if there are, nobody's talking about theirs.

On a ship with 2000 passengers, how does it not make sense to have half a dozen people whose job it is to repel boarders? Call them the captain's guard and give them funny hats and little pistols with snap-flap holsters, so they add to the over-the-top feeling that is going on a cruise. They can keep their machine guns under tarps and their rifles in locked cabinets.

I won't go on one until they let me conceal my Glock and keep an M4 in the cabin. I hate crowds anyway.

-Paul Simer (Who can't even swim that well...)

Anonymous said...

This should shed some light on why passanger ships and most cargo ships aren't armed.


Mickey said...

Cruise ship beat `em...this time.

1894C said...

Apparently the cruise ship was armed.. sort of.. Interesting.

I just saw this on :
Here is the text of the article.

Cruise ship attacked by pirates used sonic weapon
By John Pain, Associated Press
MIAMI — The crew of a luxury cruise ship used a sonic weapon that blasts earsplitting noise in a directed beam while being attacked by a gang of pirates off Africa this weekend, the cruise line said Monday.

The Seabourn Spirit had a Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, installed as a part of its defense systems, said Bruce Good, a spokesman for Miami-based Seabourn Cruise Line. The Spirit was about 100 miles off Somalia when pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns as they tried to get onboard.

The subsidiary of Carnival Corp. was investigating whether the weapon was successful in warding off the pirates, he said. The ship's captain also changed its course, shifted into high speed and headed out into the open sea to elude the pirates, who were in two small boats, he said. He had no further details.

Device maker American Technology Corp. said earsplitting "bangs" were directed by trained security personnel toward the pirates. That, combined with ship maneuvers, caused the attackers to leave the area, the company said.

The LRAD is a so-called "non-lethal weapon" developed for the U.S. military after the 2000 attack on the USS Cole off Yemen as a way to keep operators of small boats from approaching U.S. warships.

The military version is a 45-pound, dish-shaped device that can direct a high-pitched, piercing tone with a tight beam. Neither the LRAD's operators or others in the immediate area are affected.

American Technology, based in San Diego, compares its shrill tone to that of smoke detectors, only much louder. It can be as loud as about 150 decibels, while smoke alarms are about 80 to 90 decibels.

The devices have been deployed on commercial and naval vessels worldwide since summer 2003, the company said.