Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Arms race with Somalia pirates

According to Reuters, shipping companies are considering adding armed guards to their ships to fight off pirates.

Big mistake. As I mentioned in an earlier post - Arming crews not a good idea - adding armed guards to ships is just asking for trouble. One item I hadn't thought of is that security firms with dubious records are approaching shippers sensing a business opportunity. Some of these firms have been kicked out of Iraq and Afghanistan for their trigger-happy ways.

Danish group Shipcraft said putting armed guards on its vessels travelling through the Gulf of Aden was a deterrent and also a means of protecting its crews despite the risks involved.

"They (pirates) do not like to be there when the guards are there," said Shipcraft's chief executive Per Nykjaer Jensen to Reuters.

While maritime organizations have urged shippers not to start arming their ships and encouraging greater use of international navies to patrol the waters, the sheer scale has made that an unworkable solution.

Ending piracy in Somalia requires a holistic and realistic approach using lessons learned from counterinsurgency successes in Iraq and political will.

No comments: