Arming ships beats UN whining

While bureaucrats at the United Nations continue to wring their hands and whine that arming merchant ships in order to defend their crew and cargo from well-armed Somali pirates infesting the waters off the Horn of Africa will only lead to more violence, at least some US-owned ships are arming their crews and actually employing force to repel the increasingly violent maritime invaders.  In the latest episode that has been made known publicly, the Maersk Alabama, which was actually boarded and overtaken by pirates earlier this year (until US Navy SEALS mounted a successful counter-operation), employed both lethal and non-lethal force in thwarting a second capture.

Despite the fact that pirate attacks off the Somali coast have skyrocketed since mid-2008, U.N. bureaucrats and even some U.S. officials maintain that arming ships is not a good idea because it may lead to an “arms race” with Somali pirates.  This argument ignores the fact that these modern-day buccaneers already have access to late-model, powerful arms. 

Unlike UN bureaucrats sitting in their offices overlooking New York’s East River, US companies shipping valuable cargo — especially Mideast oil — pay a heavy price for doing nothing and simply relying on naval vessels to protect them, or to meet ransom demands.   Somali pirate coffers swell — as do those of the arms dealers and countries from which they purchase their arms — as US and other shipping companies have to spend millions for kidnap and ransom insurance. 

Fortunately, many US ship-owning and transport companies are exhibiting a resolve not often seen in this day and age, and are taking the bull by the horns.  They are doing what should have been done as soon as this problem of Somali pirating first manifested itself nearly two decades ago; and that is, arming their crews and training them to use those arms to repel pirate attacks.  Even the US Coast Guard has indicated support for such steps.  

Opponents of arming merchant ships fail to recognize that, just as police cannot be expected to protect every citizen from becoming the victim of a criminal act,  warships of the United States Navy, and the navies of other countries with merchant ships plying the dangerous waters in the region, cannot be expected to be everywhere they are needed all the time.   Sixteen countries, including the US, already have deployed naval ships to the region, but it is impossible to patrol 1.1 million square miles with complete effectiveness.  And, as important as each US-flag merchant ship is, there are priorities elsewhere in the world that our Navy must take into account in determing what resources it can deploy to this area. 

Hopefully, the example set by the Maersk Alabama, will cause other countries with a stake in defeating these violent pirate elements to grow some backbone (the UN is beyond hope).  More importantly, hopefully we will see the US government become more fully engaged in support of such efforts, including bringing our still-considerable diplomatic power to bear in ensuring that ports at which US merchant ships dock to take on or off load cargo or personnel, are not punished or detained simply because they have defensive firearms locked up on board to be used to defend themselves against pirate attacks.

50 comments Add your comment


November 27th, 2009
7:38 am

Thats the UN way, tell others not to defend themselves so they can take the moral high road. It worked wonders in Rwanda.


November 27th, 2009
9:02 am

The UN is useless as a “peacekeeping” organization and corrupt to boot. Pacifism doesn’t work in cases of armed aggression, and pacifism is all the UN is capable of doing.

It appears that Maersk has learned from past mistakes, while most everyone else does not.


November 27th, 2009
9:18 am

Sounds like good old common sense to me. Send the U.N. packing. A city like Nairobi could use their presence better.

Mrs. Norris

November 27th, 2009
9:52 am

Well, we wouldn’t want someone to accidentally kill one of those misunderstood thugs because we live in a time when thugs get more sympathy than a working man. Working man be damned. Now give me your money and go away quietly.

“the UN is beyond hope” – No truer words were ever spoken and other Bob at the top, you make a very good point.


November 27th, 2009
10:55 am

Its about time! Now the pirates can switch their attention to the French!


November 27th, 2009
11:03 am

Agreed – arm the ships. However it must be remembered that merchant seamen are a diverse lot and it could be that on board Somali sympathizers will be armed and conditions worsen. But one way or another the pirates must be exterminated.


November 27th, 2009
11:46 am

Bob, didn’t you see where the UN recently sent the great Nicholas Cage to meet with the pirates? He concluded that we just need “a greater understanding” and to “open a dialogue” with them to solve this problem. See, isn’t that simple?


Garry Owen

November 27th, 2009
11:50 am

The UN has outlived its usefulness! The UN is no longer about a world body to solve world problems, but has become a world body to tell the rest of the world what to do and what not to do. The U.S. funds a large portion of the UN budget. In return the U.S. gets stabbed in the back for our efforts. It is time for the U.S. to get out of the UN. Look what happened to Europe before WWII. Chamberlain of England stated that if we leave Hitler alone he will go away. Has this become the UN manrta – if we disarm everyone the world will live in Peace? Those who forget history are doomed to repeat history. Arm the ships and stop trying to take Second Amendment Rights away from honest American citizens!


November 27th, 2009
12:15 pm

I agree that arming the ships is the RIGHT thing to do. I would also agree that the U.S. should pull out of the U.N. But I would add that once we are out of the U.N. we should remove the U.N from the U.S. We need to send a message to those “pacifists” (there is a word that fits better and usually precedes cat but I’ll not use it in a family oriented publication) that we are not about to sit idly by. It is time to take action and eradicate this menace from the face of the earth.

Hillbilly Deluxe

November 27th, 2009
12:40 pm

In matters of self-preservation, it’s always best to assume you’re going to have to depend on yourself.

F-105 Thunderchief

November 27th, 2009
12:40 pm

Once a guy broke into my condo while I was there. As he was unhooking my electronics, I chambered a round in the ol’ pump-action shotgun. He never saw me, only heard that distinctive, “shuunk-shuunk,” nand in a nanosecond he was hightailing it out. Defensive arms can be a great deterrent to crime.


November 27th, 2009
12:56 pm

I’m for armed security details aboard our ships. Farm it out to the private sector if the Navy can’t handle it. There are pleanty of vets out there who could use a job right now and allready have been trained extensively by the strongest military force in the whole freakin world. If somebody tries to take my stuff by force I’m shooting them, period… Shouldn’t be any different for the shipping companies.


November 27th, 2009
12:56 pm

I’m for armed security details aboard our ships. Farm it out to the private sector if the Navy can’t handle it. There are pleanty of vets out there who could use a job right now and allready have been trained extensively by the strongest military force in the whole freakin world. If somebody tries to take my stuff by force I’m shooting them, period… Shouldn’t be any different for the shipping companies.

Fed Up

November 27th, 2009
1:56 pm

No talk. They use guns and rockets. We should use bigger guns and rockets. Arm every ship. They only understand one thing; force. You repel borders and they either die or withdraw. Nuff said.


November 27th, 2009
2:55 pm

Make the Somalis themselves want to end piracy.

Mine their harbors so they can’t take captured ships there any more. Sink any ship that comes out to fish or trade or anything else until they reduce their piracy.

Captured pirates should swing from the yardarm from any Navy ship that captures them. To Hell with fair trials for pirates captured in the act.

A few cutting out expeditions to burn Somali boats and rescue captured ships wouldn’t do any harm, either.

joe matarotz

November 27th, 2009
4:27 pm

As Charles Cotesworth Pinckney said in 1796, “Millions for defence(sic), but not one cent for tribute.” It still applies today.

Chris Broe

November 28th, 2009
12:19 pm

Once I was on a cruise, and somebody stole my sunglasses. Is that piracy because we were at sea?

If so, then I’m a victim of pirates, and I think that makes me the expert here.

So stfu.


November 28th, 2009
8:31 pm

The world used to have a very good deterrent to piracy. A near-universal death penalty for pirates. It almost completely eradicated piracy. Now that we’ve gone soft, the pirates are back. And the attacks are increasing because ransoms are being paid.
Now that US ships are armed they’ll shift to vessels of other nations. That’s what the UN is afraid of.

Karl Marx

November 29th, 2009
7:27 am

The UN is less effective the the League of Nations which was a total failure. We should quit the UN and move it out of the US. Yes indeed, the UN, an idea who’s time has come…… end it.

Chris Broe

November 29th, 2009
12:18 pm

There’s no defense against pirates.

This one time, at the early-seating during a Caribbean Cruise, I noticed that one of the female passengers I was interested in was at the Captain’s table. I asked her about it later as she was painting my toenails, (don’t ask). She said the Captain drank heavily and appeared drunk, and that he had retired to his cabin, with her, fumbled with her clothes and passed out. I made her swear that it was true.

So, I asked her who was driving the boat, and she corrected me, “it’s a ship, silly”. (”Oh, right, I forgot you were at the Captain’s table during dinner”). The yeoman went to her berth alone that night my friends. I had an investigation to complete. (I’m such a dork)

So, I wandered around this enormous, uncaptained ship, worried that we would sink after an imminent collision. I met a different woman, an Atlanta barmaid. We clicked. We walked around and we met two, equally-drunk members of the ship’s crew, (real swabs). I related the story about the drunken, passed-out captain and they both laughed. Then I got upset and said “if every member of the crew is drunk, then aren’t we going to crash?” They corrected me, “a ship doesn’t crash, it flounders”. They assured me that the 2nd-in-command was piloting the ship just fine, and then they set about defiling this really hot woman who worked at a bar in Atlanta. In front of me. I remembered the attraction at Disney World called Pirates of the Carribean, which depicted debauchery with the wench’s, so I scrammed. She was hot, though. She told me the name of the bar in Atlanta, but I forgot it and never looked her up. Always regretted that.

Anyway, piracy is in the eye of the beholder. I believe to this day that the captain and crew of that cruise ship were pirates. I never cruised again. Oh, today, sometimes, as I limp around my house, I look out my picture window with my one good eye and see the freighters passing by on their way to to Europe and I wonder how drunk their captains are; but I’m satisfied to watch Johnny Depp and experience vicariously all the debauchery I came so close to grasping with my one good arm (and my hook).

Conservative White Male

November 29th, 2009
1:30 pm

If Obama really cared he would use some goverment funds to put Blackwater on each and every vessell. Those boys aint scared of no somalis thug

Carl from Chicago

November 30th, 2009
10:40 am

Spot on, Bob. Thanks for having the courage to speak out, and speak the truth, when so many act like cowards.

David M. Bennett

November 30th, 2009
1:55 pm

Where is Greenpeace to express their concern over the possibility of innocent marine life being caught in the crossfire? :-/

I’m all for arming the merchant ships! It is long past time!


November 30th, 2009
4:13 pm

Oh, they are right though, arming merchant ships WILL increase the level of violence! Now instead of pirates assualting and murdering unarmed sailors, it will now be a fight….this increased level of violence is a GOOD thing! As soon as piracy become more risky than rewarding…it will fade back into the history books..


November 30th, 2009
4:39 pm

Hey guys. Getting out of the UN and giving them the boot from our shores is a great plan. But……you are forgetting who our president is wiith his list of Czars that will not be happy until they achieve a global gun ban. And guess which organization they plan to use to accomplish this? Wonder how willing the pirates are going to be giving up their arms?


November 30th, 2009
5:12 pm

We need the SSN KICKASS to launch a few SLCM’s at these scumbag pirate ships. Once a few of these Somali Mu”slims” are vaporized at sea, they might think twice about chasing the Red, White, and Blue!


November 30th, 2009
5:15 pm


get the US out of the UN & get UN out of the US !

to hell with all the globalist scum and control freaks.

let ships arm themselves and hang all captured pirates.

violent criminals know not but force. RETALIATE.

the UN is scared if the US arms its merchant ships, the other defenseless and castrated countries vessels will get preyed on more….which is true.

the UN hates us, hates freedom and self defense.


November 30th, 2009
7:26 pm

Maybe the US Merchant ships coul open up shooting ranges on their fantails like some cruise ships have. But rather than shooting skeet with shotguns they could have large caliber rifle trainging for shooting bobbing targets. Sounds like fun!!!


November 30th, 2009
7:45 pm

I agree with Fed Up. Sink there little boats And they can tred water untill the ship can turn around and pick them up.

Paul of Monroe

November 30th, 2009
7:58 pm

The UN is the problem, not the solution. I suggest that the United States withdraw ourselves and our money from that organization and evict the UN from some very pricey NYC real estate.


November 30th, 2009
8:11 pm

What will it take for the silent, passive, American to understand that this issue may present itself to us here at home. Who in there right mind would support the UN. Yes , please wake up and take the corrupt UN out of the US. Please send along a few ( many ) of our current legislators.

Tony Yung

November 30th, 2009
9:11 pm

I agree we should get out of the UN and get them out of the United States of America and stop feeding our money nuf sed !


November 30th, 2009
9:31 pm

We will achieve peace through superior fire power! yea! piece of pirate a*#!!! catch them and hangem so that other pirates can see! lmao!!!!


November 30th, 2009
9:58 pm

One thing about the people at the UN, they advocate Appeasement and Defeatism, the whole world knows they’re pussies that never stand up for what’s right cause of being afraid they’re gonna get hurt. It’s amazing those idiots made it through puberty. The truth is that they couldn’t take care of a wet dream. That Thugocracy government that the UN is thinks of pirates and bloodthirsty dictators the same way as liberal politicians think of criminals and murderers in the US…they’re members of the public who deserve protection from the violent law abiding citizens. They think that good is evil and that evil is good. Their advice to a woman being raped is to lay back and enjoy it.


November 30th, 2009
10:36 pm

You would be amazed at how a pirate’s demeanor changes when they are looking down the muzzles of a pair of 40mm bofors. Just like the police, the navy cannot be everywhere at once. Give the ship crews the option of defending themselves. All you would need to do this is something as simple as some ww2 vintage 20mm or 40mm cannon.


November 30th, 2009
11:39 pm

Come on folks, isn’t there some liberal pacifist out there to post the usual “can’t we all just get along” malarkey? And offer “hugs for pirates”, and then lead us in a chorus of “Kumbaya” or some lame John and Yoko tune. What good is a discussion if we all think alike? I vote for inviting some contributors from the Huffington Post to add their comments to this article. ;)


December 1st, 2009
12:01 am

One thing that I’m surprized these people who sail on merchant ships don’t do is refuse to work at getting stuff from point A to point B aboard ship unless they all can be armed. I personally wouldn’t go to other places being defenseless and at the mercy of pirates or other threats. If everyone did that, a country’s business would fall apart and they would give in to the demands of those who put their lives at risk on the high seas and allow them to be armed to the teeth. It’s just like going on strike until your demands are met. Even Christianity doesn’t forbid self defense of your life (just pride, but not life), read Luke 22:36.


December 1st, 2009
2:21 am

These pirates do not care about the people whose lives they threaten. Put them on notice and if they persist – blow them apart and let their remains feed the sharks and fishes in the cesspool of their home waters.


December 1st, 2009
6:31 am

Don’t expect any help from this “pantywaist” administration that we have “leading” this Nation. The UN is almost as corrupt as our national “leaders!” Why not have Predator’s overfly the area and when they find these criminals heading for a ship, take them out. It would only happen a few times and the pirates would get the message. Of course, our present leadership is to busy prosecuting Navy SEALS because a terrorist suspect got a “fat lip.” I also heard, but have not confirmed, that the SEALS who took the Maersk Alabama and wiped out the pirates are now, themselves, under investigation. We need to take this Country back from this Muslim President and his merry band of liberal criminals! Enough is enough!

Hard Right Hook

December 1st, 2009
3:13 pm

Absolutely. Arm the merchant ships, to the teeth. Overwhelming firepower is the appropriate response to these barbarians.

Get the US out of the impotent UN.

Get the UN out of the US and send to, say, France. They deserve one another.


December 1st, 2009
3:19 pm

I don’t even understand why there is a debate. Of COURSE the ships should carry defensive arms. Under threat of piracy and death, torture or kidnapping, theft of billion-dollar assets/cargos, who wouldn’t prefer to fight back rather than “lie back and enjoy it”? The pacifist crowd is so intellectually dishonest when they talk about understanding, negotiating, etc with these murderous criminals. There is only one language they understand and respect – strength. To beat them you simply need more strength than they have and the dedication and resolve to use it. Kill enough of the pirates, and they’ll stop trying to take your ships. That math is so simple, even the simps in DC should be able to understand it. But they pretend not to. We need some realists and some decision makers, not metrosexual wimps, running this government.


December 1st, 2009
3:55 pm

This is such a no-brainer. The thought of America’s merchant seafarers being sent into waters unarmed where pirates are so richly and lethally outfitted–it’s appalling. The missed point here, however, is that the insurers of the merchant vessels would rather pay hundreds of millions to pirates than risk a shootout/lawsuit on their insurees’ ships. Pacifism is all well and good in situations where pacifism can do any good. This is clearly not one of them. UN out of workers’ safety!

Carl M.

December 1st, 2009
6:42 pm

Completley agree with Gary Owen. Our boy in D.C. got himselfe elected, unfortunatly for us, by saying he had a “PLAN”. Well so far his plan seems to be one of disaster. A while back I got an email about Robin Williams called “The Plan”. His Plan made more sense to me than anything i’ve heard in years. Part of it dealt with the UN, it goes like this.”Ship the UN Headquarters to an isolated island someplace. We don’t need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, the building would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens”. The UN is like a parent telling thier child that if they don’t do as they are told they will get thier butts blistered. Well, how long did it take us to figure out when that didn’t happen that we could ignore theyelling and do what we wanted. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out! Get rid of the usless noise maker, besides Obama could use the money to bailout another CEO instead of adding more to our already astronomical debt.


December 2nd, 2009
2:18 pm

I have been saying for years what zero said. The U.S. needs to get the hell out of the U.N. and cut off funding to them. They will dry up and blow away. Then sweep the dirt out beyond the ten mile limit and don’t let them raise their dumb head in the U.S. ever again. Good riddence to bad rubish.

[...] to drop them!)  Since I didn’t have time to write an article, I would instead like to note this excellent article about piracy and arming merchant ships.  Here is an excerpt: While bureaucrats at the United [...]


December 3rd, 2009
4:22 pm

Attacking a ship on the high seas is an act of war, and should be treated as such,capture, arrest and hang them to let the other pirates see all.No quarter,no surrender and never give up the ship…


December 3rd, 2009
4:42 pm

Remember the battle of Mogadishu (Black Hawk down)in 1993. At least 17 of our military were killed there. The country is known to harbor and support terrorists. The criminals that hi-jack ships aren’t doing it to improve their country’s way of life. They’re criminals.


December 4th, 2009
2:47 pm

Absolutely. You would be amazed at the stopping power of several shotguns(riot guns to be exact), firing down on an enemy who is about 10-15 yards away. Rifles are great for providing the covering fire needed for repeling boarders, but, if pirates insist on boarding, they will. A hail of buckshot will stop that in it’s tracks. Pirates need to be hit with full force and shown absolutly no mercy. Keep firing until they’re out of range, even when they retreat. If you show them you’re meaner then they are, they won’t come back.

[...] International/United Nations: UN Officials are apposed to ships going to see armed while some ships are apposed to being victims of piracy. [...]


January 10th, 2010
8:17 pm

The thing with the U.N. is that they couldn’t take care of a wet dream, it’s amazing all them idiots made it through puberty with their thinking and actions they decide. Them and our Democrat politicians are both weaklings when it comes to dealing with enemies, both advocate Appeasement and Defeatism. Ever notice how when Democrats are in charge of how things go in this country, our enemies overseas really defy us and get away with it too. Shows you how appeasement only makes the aggressor more aggressive. After all, as Neville Chamberland of Britain said, “I believe that there is peace in our time.”