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What’s your prediction on when they’ll wake up and arm the seamen instead of giving them the equivalent of water balloons?

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US seamen are being trained to fend off pirates

US seamen are being trained to fend off pirates
Feb 2 02:37 PM US/Eastern
By CLARKE CANFIELD
Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - With an alarming number of tankers and cargo ships getting hijacked on the high seas, the nation's maritime academies are offering more training to merchant seamen in how to fend off attacks from pirates armed not with cutlasses and flintlocks but automatic weapons and grenade launchers.

Colleges are teaching students to fishtail their vessels at high speed, drive off intruders with high-pressure water hoses and illuminate their decks with floodlights.

Anti-piracy training is not new. Nor are the techniques. But the lessons have taken on new urgency—and more courses are planned—because of the record number of attacks worldwide in 2008 by outlaws who seize ships and hold them for ransom.

At the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, Calif., professor Donna Nincic teaches two courses on piracy. Students learn where the piracy hotspots are and how they have shifted over the years.

"If I've done anything, I've shown them that this isn't a joke, it's not about parrots and eye patches and Blackbeard and all that," Nincic said. "It's very real and it's a problem without an easy solution."

Emily Rizzo, a student at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, Mass., worked aboard a 760-foot cargo ship last year as part of her training. As the vessel sailed the Malacca Straits in Southeast Asia, she served on "pirate watches," learned to use hoses and took part in drills with alarms indicating the ship had been boarded.

The training "brought to light just how serious it is," said Rizzo, a 22-year-old senior from Milwaukee. "The pirates can get on board these huge ships and they know what they're doing. It's not like the old days."

The International Maritime Bureau reported 293 piracy incidents in 2008, an increase of 11 percent from the year before. Forty-nine vessels were hijacked, and 889 crew members were taken hostage. Eleven were killed and 21 reported missing and presumed dead, according to the bureau.

Piracy hotspots have been identified off East Africa and in Southeast Asia, South America and the Caribbean.

Typically, small numbers of pirates—as few as two and up to 15 or 16—draw up alongside ships in motorized skiffs and use grappling hooks and rope ladders to clamber aboard. Some of the biggest ships might have no more than two dozen crew members.

Often the pirates are armed with knives and guns. Pirates off the coast of Somalia have taken to firing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.

In the old days, ships were armed with cannons to guard against pirates. But nowadays, crew members for the most part do not carry guns. And maritime instructors say that arming crews is not the answer.

It is illegal for crews to carry weapons in the territorial waters of many nations, and ship captains are wary of arming crew members for fear of mutinies, Nincic said. Also, some worry that arming crew members would only cause the violence to escalate.

Instead, the best defense is vigilance, Nincic tells students.
"If you demonstrate a culture of awareness, that you look like you know you're in pirate waters and are clearly standing watch, patrolling, etc., the pirates know you're going to be more difficult to board and are possibly going to wait for the next ship and board the one that's easier," she said.

The Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, is putting together a new anti-piracy course on nonlethal defense for ship crews, said Ralph Pundt, chairman of the school's marine transportation department.

The course would teach how crews can use observation techniques, lights, fire hoses and evasive action. The best way to combat pirates, Pundt said, it to keep them from boarding in the first place.

Michael Durnan, a 42-year-old senior at Cal Maritime, was working on a tanker filled with soybean oil in 2001 when he confronted four pirates standing on the ship's stern in the Bay of Bengal off Bangladesh.

Durnan approached the men with a 2-by-4, but they threw some equipment overboard and then jumped over themselves, escaping into the darkness in small fishing boats.

"They take everything and sell everything," he said. "Anything on a ship can be sold to somebody for something."
___
On the Net:
Maine Maritime Academy: Maine Maritime Academy-world's best seamanship instruction.
California Maritime Academy: The California Maritime Academy Home Page
Massachusetts Maritime Academy: Massachusetts Maritime Academy
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.
 

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Well from the sound of this they never will arm the seamen unless something really drastic happens, I don't understand why they cannot be armed with non lethal weapons.....
 

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I'm sorry but i work on these types of ship and i can tell you that fire hoses and even the Foam pumps have nowhere near the reach of a bullet are they really suggesting sending crew on deck to use a water pistol against a gun. I don't think any good Captain would even consider the option. The merchant navy has on large not been armed for many years this is because there was never really a need to be, Goverments need to get tougher on the countrys allowing this happen and if neccessary put Naval patrols that are allowed to use force in the affected areas.
 

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Yeah, but I'll tell ya what though, there ain't nutt'n scarier tha a 900' full loaded tanker fish tailing at high speed, can't wait to see them doing donuts
 

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Yeah, but I'll tell ya what though, there ain't nutt'n scarier tha a 900' full loaded tanker fish tailing at high speed, can't wait to see them doing donuts
Trouble is; when you've only got a foot or two under your keel to begin with, you don't do much wiggling about in the Strait of Malacca. (!)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think a few 50 calibers with some good training would go a long way to solving the problem.
 

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I think a few 50 calibers with some good training would go a long way to solving the problem.
Which implementation would reclassify the ships as warships, with all that entails.
 

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Hmm, ok how about issuing rifles when in known pirate waters.
 

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Or they could ask the japanese from the whale wars show they had it down with the japanese cg i think it was and stun grenades.....better than the whale pirate stink bombs
 

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I've said it before and I'll say it again.....

You're out there in the middle of nowhere....some nobodies attack your vessel....You blow them out of the water totally eliminating any evidence of their previous existence.....Don't ask, Don't tell!
 

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Quote from quote in OP:
Instead, the best defense is vigilance, Nincic tells students.
"If you demonstrate a culture of awareness, that you look like you know you're in pirate waters and are clearly standing watch, patrolling, etc., the pirates know you're going to be more difficult to board and are possibly going to wait for the next ship and board the one that's easier," she said.


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Right! It really comes down something like this --
Abdul (he's the guy on the right).......


......says to his mates in the speedboat:
"Hey, Dudes, lookie there -- those guys over there on that merchant ship are, like, REALLY vigilant. I mean, like, they're standing watch, and patrolling the decks, and -- oh, my Allah, watching us with their binoculars! Gee, what chance to we stand with our AKs and RPGs against such a squared-away crew like that one. We'd better get the hell out of here before they squirt us with their fire hose."



Abdul and his mates bugger off and then over the horizon comes some guys who look like they aren't going to be deterred by fire hoses.....


Somehow I just can't believe these guys are going to be stopped by a vigilant crew. :(

Now this guy on a Chinese boat under attack seems to have the right idea:



Toast 'em with a Molotov cocktail..... Is that a beer he's got on the table. Ah, yes! There's nothing goes down better in a fire fight on a hot day than a cold brewski!!!


But in the end..... It's going to take something like this.......



....or better yet this.....



to do this....




....which is the only way to deal with Abdul and his friends!! ;)
 

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Safe sailing in Ohio

I've said it before and I'll say it again.....

You're out there in the middle of nowhere....some nobodies attack your vessel....You blow them out of the water totally eliminating any evidence of their previous existence.....Don't ask, Don't tell!
That works fine, until some Chinese freighter comes along and thinks YOU're nobody. :eek: Coming back from Bermuda last year we saw two in the space of an hour. Probably not much of a problem in Ohio, but it's not a workable solution unless it works.:D
 

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Trust me, everyone will know about it! Seamen are notorious blabbermouths and the story will out on or about the second beer after hitting the next port.

billyruffin is entirely correct in his assessment of the efficacy of "pirate training" and recognizes the usual hornswoggle peddled by the government and the academies that no one in the real world believes. The original article cited is the type of pap that was served up to make us believe that we were all safe within the arms of our government when flying. I'd expect that 9/11 put paid to that nonsense.

One of these days, some wit is going to note that the US Navy was invented for dealing with pirates, specifically the Barbary pirates, and that after their acquiescence to that navy it was debated long and hard as to the need for it's continued existence. We might revisit that conversation if US flag interests are at risk. To the extent that the interests are not US flag in nature; let 'em get their own damn navy.

paulk is certainly correct in the likely result of arming every merchant ship at potential risk. While I'm not sure what would happen to the pirates, I'm pretty sure that various matters maritime between Greeks and Turks would become ballistic in nature and hardly be limited to those animosities and fears.
 

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I am thinking taser or two onboard. Only useful versus a small incursion given the opportunity. Otherwise, with the 10 guys and their rpg's, uh, come on board, I will make you some lunch while you steal all my stuff!
 
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