Debate and Discussion

Modern piracy. Who is really to blame?
ozoneocean at 11:44PM, Nov. 21, 2008
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We hear a lot about piracy in the news these days, especially around the horn of Africa because of the instability in Somalia. -But there's been problems with it for decades in South East Asia. Basically anywhere where there's political unrest (wars etc.) and narrow straights or lots of islands for small vessels to attack from.

For a real solution to it, you'd have to treat the cause: the wars and political trouble. It's that which arms the young men, drives them off of the land, their fishing etc. and other sources of legitimate work into the dangerous but high reward business of hijacking ocean vessels, people smuggling, robbing and killing the crews of small yachts and such.

But you have to start somewhere, and a good way to begin would be protecting the crews of the merchant vessels that have to ply dangerous waters. Or at least you'd think that'd be a good start, wouldn't you?

Crappy shopping centres have full time security guards… Two armed men in paramilitary uniform collect the money from the ticket machines on the station where I catch the train from work (mustn't be more that 3 or 4 hundred dollars in coins from the size of the money box), Journalists have teams of armed mercenaries to guard them. But when ships are transporting cargoes worth multiple millions of dollars through known dangerous areas, the crew are left to fend for themselves for some reason. You have to wonder why that is, I do anyway.

Perhaps it's because neither the crews nor the ships have any real value to the ship owners. We know that crews are paid very badly and live in bad conditions, and because the the risks of sea travel everything is insured quite heavily, owners must always be resigned to losing their ships and not really mind too much how it happens.

So perhaps the pirates aren't the only criminals here? Perhaps the ship owners should share just as much responsibility?
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
kyupol at 5:40AM, Nov. 22, 2008
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What motivates pirates to attack the ships? Of course it has something to do with the fact that inside that ship is something of value. Something that they can use.

The reason the pirates have become more brazen these days is because face it. Those guys are starving. As the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” continue to widen and widen and widen due to globalization, these guys are left with no choice as they're forced into a corner. In Somalia there are no jobs. The best “job” over there is to be a pirate or part of a local militia. And just go with whoever pays the best.

Btw I'm not defending them. YES PIRATES ARE BAD. In southeast Asia, there's been news reports of pirates kidnapping children, hacking off their limbs and forcing them to beg on the streets.

I'm just pointing out the fact. That if you live in a hellhole of a country such as that, you are more likely to be forced into a situation in where you'd be doing evil acts. As negativity always creates more negativity. What goes around comes around.

But when ships are transporting cargoes worth multiple millions of dollars through known dangerous areas, the crew are left to fend for themselves for some reason.

Because that can be used by the globalists to have an excuse to create a “global solution” to a problem.

It can be used as an excuse for the creation of a more centralized “world army”. They can be like oh look. in order to effectively address this problem, we must have a global solution. A world army is necessary…

Because as proven in the past, these globalists LOOOVVVEEE to use any problem (whether legitimate or manufactured) as an excuse to attack freedom or centralize power. Just as how their corporate-controlled mainstream media loves to freak out over drunk driving, school shootings, gangsta shootings, “climate change” (which is a clear FRAUD btw) etc. in order to have an excuse to put more layers of bureaucracy and push tyranny forward.

Its called problem-reaction-solution.

And for all I know, these pirates must have had CIA backing.

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ozoneocean at 10:19PM, Nov. 22, 2008
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Kyupol… I think you're quite off track here.
The causes of piracy aren't anything exotic, weird or hard to understand.

In the case of Somalia you're partially right in that the U.S. has contributed to instability in that country, but only inadvertently through hamfisted efforts: like recently when the moderate “Islamic Council” finally took control of the nation and were on the road to peace, the U.S. funded Ethiopia to invade and install their own government that was supposedly elected in exile. That failed straight away and in the mean time the hard-line Islamists split from the moderates in the Islamic council and now they have the same dangerous Muslim hard-liner types vying for power there as they do everywhere the U.S. messes up…

But No one “needs” piracy as an excuse for international efforts. There are already international efforts under way to tackle piracy and damned ineffective they are too! The the most recent success was the sinking of a pirate “Mothership” by the Indian navy, the pirates used their little speedboats to get away however.

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The thing I'm concerned about is why the ship owners don't have guards on their ships for those vulnerable sailors, and because of this, they should be held accountable in the court for international human rights for their deaths. And about time too! Shipping companies just get worse and worse.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
rufus_edge at 10:27PM, Nov. 22, 2008
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Ozzy
The the most recent success was the sinking of a pirate “Mothership” by the Indian navy

Those bastards! they should have sat down with the pirates without preconditions and discussed the situation!
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ozoneocean at 12:32AM, Nov. 23, 2008
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Rufus, they sunk the pirate mothership and the pirates got away. It's a minor success. Meanwhile the crews of those merchant ships are left at the mercy of those ruthless thugs on the speedboats.

Besides, should the world's navies really have to do all the work of patrolling thousands of nautical miles of these dangerous waters when it would be cheaper and easier just to increase the protection on the merchant shipping instead?
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
imshard at 2:54AM, Nov. 23, 2008
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Pirates are like cockroaches, stamp one and another takes its place. History would seem to show that there is one really good way to get rid of pirates. Use guns, and show no mercy. In the past shipping companies were authorized to arm their vessels and hunt down the pirates on their own and in cooperation with the respective navies of the parent countries involved. Eventually you start killing them off and scare of the rest. Worked great for the East India Company. Whether that would work in modern times is another question. Unfortunately nobody can wave a wand and make the geo-political situations spawning these incidents go away and innocent lives are being lost in the mean time.

So that leaves me to ask the question, do we really need MORE companies wielding guns and taking matters into their hands?
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:58PM
ozoneocean at 3:15AM, Nov. 23, 2008
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imshard
So that leaves me to ask the question, do we really need MORE companies wielding guns and taking matters into their hands?
If supermarkets pay for security guards, if TV news agencies pay for mercenary guards, if the company that runs trains near me can pay armed guards to collect $300 worth of coins at each station, I tend to think that paying guards to protect $100 million worth of shipped goods and $25 million worth of ship and her crew of 16 or whatever, would sort of make sense.
Don't you?

But for some reason it doesn't. For some reason that cargo and those crews aren't worth protecting. Funnily enough I think there's a good lesson in this for those who're of a right wing persuasion, if they'd only notice what it was ;)
 
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DAJB at 4:58AM, Nov. 23, 2008
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ozoneocean
So perhaps the pirates aren't the only criminals here? Perhaps the ship owners should share just as much responsibility?
Ship owners are clearly not blameless in other respects but holding them (even partly) responsible for the actions of the pirates is stretching credbility.

The pirates are criminals pure and simple. Saying the victim is partly responsible here is like holding the victim of a mugging or a rape responsible because of what they were wearing or because they should have known not to be in that area. It's insulting.

We need to be strong enough to condemn criminals, not make excuses for them or try to deflect attention from their crimes by pointing to something totally unrelated. Sure, ship owners should ensure their ships are adequately crewed and registered with authorities which impose decent standards but there's no way these pirates are fighting for those rights. They're attacking innocent people for personal gain. That's all.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
ozoneocean at 5:23AM, Nov. 23, 2008
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DAJB
ozoneocean
So perhaps the pirates aren't the only criminals here? Perhaps the ship owners should share just as much responsibility?
Ship owners are clearly not blameless in other respects but holding them (even partly) responsible for the actions of the pirates is stretching credbility.
I completely disagree, the shipowners aren't victims and the comparisons of rapes and murders are extremely silly.

A FAR better analogue would be the owner of a small corner shop in an area with extremely high crime rates taking advantage of people who can't get any other job by paying them a low wage, and not bothering to install any protection for them - like bollards to prevent ram-raids, bars on the windows etc.
But because there are always people desperate for that shitty job, there will always be some sucker who'll take it. And, because in the case of the shipowners, they can get away with not protecting their workers and insurance will always pay out their losses, it doesn't matter to them one way or the other. ;)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
DAJB at 5:39AM, Nov. 23, 2008
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ozoneocean
DAJB
ozoneocean
So perhaps the pirates aren't the only criminals here? Perhaps the ship owners should share just as much responsibility?
Ship owners are clearly not blameless in other respects but holding them (even partly) responsible for the actions of the pirates is stretching credbility.
I completely disagree, the shipowners aren't victims and the comparisons of rapes and murders are extremely silly.
We shall have to agree to disagree on this. It seems self-evident to me they are identical.

ozoneocean
A FAR better analogue would be the owner of a small corner shop in an area with extremely high crime rates taking advantage of people who can't get any other job by paying them a low wage, and not bothering to install any protection for them - like bollards to prevent ram-raids, bars on the windows etc.
But because there are always people desperate for that shitty job, there will always be some sucker who'll take it. And, because in the case of the shipowners, they can get away with not protecting their workers and insurance will always pay out their losses, it doesn't matter to them one way or the other. ;)
Same difference. The shop-keeper may well be guilty of not providing adequate working conditions but that does not make him even partly responsible for the actions of the scum who rob his shop. They are solely responsible for their actions. By your logic, someone who is stabbed to death is partly responsible because he should have had the foresight to wear a knife-proof vest under his jacket.

As I say, we shall have to agree to disagree. I'm happy to hold the ship owners (and shop owners!) responsible for their own misdeeds (which may be many) but not for the crimes of others.
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ozoneocean at 5:47AM, Nov. 23, 2008
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No, by my logic a police force that sent it's officers out without stab proff vests into a situation where they could be stabbed would be partly responisble for any stab related injuries suffered by their employees. As the law in most civilised countries states.

Failure to provide safe working conditions is usually a crime in most civilised first world countries. That's what a ship is: it's NOT a person, it's a work place. And the goods those ships transport are rarely owned by the companies that ship them. Did you not realise that? :)
 
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DAJB at 6:51AM, Nov. 23, 2008
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ozoneocean
No, by my logic a police force that sent it's officers out without stab proff vests into a situation where they could be stabbed would be partly responisble for any stab related injuries suffered by their employees. As the law in most civilised countries states.

Failure to provide safe working conditions is usually a crime in most civilised first world countries. That's what a ship is: it's NOT a person, it's a work place. And the goods those ships transport are rarely owned by the companies that ship them. Did you not realise that? :)
I did realise that. I worked for several years in ship finance and therefore have a very good understanding of the rights and responsibilities of the various parties involved. But I'm not going to say anything more in response to this post. I don't believe it adds anything to your earlier assertion and everything here is already covered by my earlier posts. To avoid simply repeating myself and allowing this debate to run in circles, therefore, I think - as I said earlier - that we shall simply have to agree to differ.
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imshard at 2:43PM, Nov. 23, 2008
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I support the idea of arming shipping companies.
They ARE defenseless in most cases and giving them arms would act as a strong deterrent to raids.

I just find it funny how its acceptable to arm boats off the coast of Somalia but not defense contractors in the deserts of the middle east. The same principles apply. The lack of oversight, the rampant abuse of power, and zero accountability. As well you stir up a similar argument as in the importance of an Armed population thread. Will giving guns to the possible victims really reduce the incidence of South Pacific, and Indian ocean piracy? or merely escalate the violence?
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:58PM
bravo1102 at 3:13PM, Nov. 23, 2008
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A friend of mine has a keen interest in maritime law and he agrees with DAJB.

Let's consider how piracy works. A bunch of guys in boats swarm a big ship, climb aboard and overpower the crew usually by sheer numbers. Most cargo vessels have absurdly small crews and are often very large. It's easy to sneak aboard in a small boat and take the ship. In the golden age of piracy, pirate ships had crews of 100 or more. Merchantmen had crews of 15-30. They'd swarm aboard and take the ship. The same thing is true today.

The merchant vessels do have gun lockers and firearms, but you have a crew of 15, five of whom are one the bridge with knives to their throats; discretion becomes the better part of valor. Maritime security works best close to shore, near harbors and in port. Putting security guards on ships at sea usually just adds to the number of people taken prisoner by the priates unless they are trained detachments of military personnel like those who crewed guns on merchantmen in the world wars.

Under maritime law and various treaties navies of the world are the offical patrollers of the sea and have the right to use force the same way as a police officer does on land. The weapons on a ship are considered sufficent to ward off would be pirates, but like I said discretion is often the better part of valor. Unless you want to mount 50 caliber machine guns on the bridges of all merchant ships?

How about fitting out private vessels, you know; privateers to take out the pirates? Like Captain Kidd did near Madagascar or maybe that's a bad example. ;)

Screw it, even pacifist President Thomas Jefferson knew what to do about pirates; Declare war and send in the Marines.
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cartoonprofessor at 11:50PM, Nov. 23, 2008
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Yeah, but like you said, bravo, these ships are often huge. Mounting 50 cal machine guns would do little good as the crew, often only half a dozen awake at any given time would be overrun before they even knew pirates were aboard.
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ozoneocean at 4:35AM, Nov. 24, 2008
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cartoonprofessor
Yeah, but like you said, bravo, these ships are often huge. Mounting 50 cal machine guns would do little good as the crew, often only half a dozen awake at any given time would be overrun before they even knew pirates were aboard.
Not quite.

They are indeed large, and crewed by a few, but it's not that simple to board and overrun a large vessel at sea- think of them like moving castles with sheer walls surrounded by a vast moat :)
If the shipping companies would deign to spring for a team of guards, it wouldn't be that difficult to secure the ship against boarding from a few men on two speedboats. Perhaps the insurance companies should require it since they're the ones who're going to have to pay ultimately.

Addressing Imshard's point about accountability:
It wouldn't change a thing in this case, crews on these ships and hypothetical armed guards aboard them aren't like armed mercenaries in heavily populated civilian areas in Baghdad. They'd only be responsible for guarding the vessels while at sea anyway, when docked the resident authorities take over.

While AT sea it really wouldn't change a thing. A cargo ship can hardly go rogue and start pirating, it wouldn't work very well that way :)
And crews are already as bloodthirsty and evil or as humanitarian and good as their nature's dictate: Like the Norwegian crew of the container ship that rescued several refugees from their sinking boats off waters in Northern Australia and took them into port, despite the costs and problems it caused to them… Or the Ukrainian crew of a ship near the U.K who when they found two African refugees on board tried to kill them both; only succeeding in killing one and throwing him overboard. The other hid and lived to tell the tale.
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Bravo
How about fitting out private vessels, you know; privateers to take out the pirates? Like Captain Kidd did near Madagascar or maybe that's a bad example.
Indeed, a bad example. Prevention is the key, not extermination.

Exterminating a good deal of the pirate gangs wouldn't be that difficult for a motivated, funded force- load selected tempting ships with detachments of SAS or SEALS or any similar group specialising in whatever tactics the situation calls for and let them be a trojan horse. But I don't think it'd be that good an idea- no one could afford to keep that up and there are more ships sailing through than there are any amount of Special forces to sail aboard them. There are also more than enough stupid, vicious young men out there willing to try their hands at that sort of work, despite deterrents.

The problem is their land support. The political situation ashore is favourable to their behaviour. If peace or some measure of order could be restored, their support bases would dry up. It's always the support structure that's the root of it. When the Americans tackled piracy on their shipping in the Mediterranean they went right to the source and invaded Tripoli… Invasion isn't a viable option here because there is no established political regime to deal with and intimidate.
 
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imshard at 11:02AM, Nov. 24, 2008
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ozoneocean
cartoonprofessor
Yeah, but like you said, bravo, these ships are often huge. Mounting 50 cal machine guns would do little good as the crew, often only half a dozen awake at any given time would be overrun before they even knew pirates were aboard.
Not quite.

They are indeed large, and crewed by a few, but it's not that simple to board and overrun a large vessel at sea- think of them like moving castles with sheer walls surrounded by a vast moat :)
If the shipping companies would deign to spring for a team of guards, it wouldn't be that difficult to secure the ship against boarding from a few men on two speedboats. Perhaps the insurance companies should require it since they're the ones who're going to have to pay ultimately

Not quite like a castle. Castles don't have dozens of dry-dock hatches, external stairs, and ladders pre-provided. Plus you can always let yourself in with a cutting torch and a spot of hull above the water line. I agree with Cartoonprofessor that these ships are simply to hard to secure on their own.

So what you do is hire a couple of smaller well-armed patrol boats to escort. Or possibly request a naval escort. Indeed the problem is a lack of a local government to patrol its own waters. There is no local navy to crack down with. Seeing as the UN has FAILED miserably to stabilize the region a European consortium needs to organize to protect their interests (it is after all THEIR ships being attacked.)
I hate to say its not our problem but the US has its hands full and doesn't need to reinforce it's image as the world police.
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bravo1102 at 1:55PM, Nov. 24, 2008
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Imshard is correct about how easy it is to sneak aboard a merchant ship at sea. Often you just get the speed boat alongside the boarding ladder, up the boarding ladder and you're aboard. Only a half dozen crew awake at any time, congrats you put 12 guys aboard with box cutters and you took the ship.

The pashas and emirs the US Navy fought against in Tripoli are about the same as the local power brokers who are supplying and supporting our modern day Somali pirates. There is local government that the pirates work with the same as in the Carribbean back in the day or in the Far East. You line up a bunch of naval vessels off where tha baddies are operating and bombard the coast we'll see how fast the people root out the pirates themselves. Of course there'd be a huge stink in the UN and the media because it isn't 1816 anymore and powerful navies just can't go around making the world a safer place through the use of high explosive when renegades pop up. :)

But a guy can dream. Maybe the world would be a better place if stronger nations acted like it was 1816. Bring back Gunboat diplomacy and “showing the flag” lol!

Seriously though best bet would be to have organized convoys escorted by available international naval assets through dangerous areas. Any attempt at setting up Marine Security on merchant vessels is ridiculous especially at sea in international waters. You're just adding to the number of people captured by the pirates.

You know I work for a security company that started by doing marine security; but in ports and shore waters not in the international sea lanes. That's what navies are for. I think some guy wrote about it in the 19th Century: Alfred Thayer Mahan? You want a merchant marine you better have a navy to protect it. Seems we might have forgotten that.
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cartoonprofessor at 3:33PM, Nov. 24, 2008
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Maybe Ozone has a point though. The companies could go high-tech. There is a lot of empty space around these huge ships. It should be easy enough to detect even a small speedboat in plenty of time to wake the crew and assume ‘battle stations’. With enough detection equipment appropriately placed any attempt to breach the hull or climb on board could be easily prevented.

But this type of equipment costs plenty of dollars. I guess if a company is losing enough money they would start investing in it… particularly as insurance costs begin to skyrocket as a result of the pirates.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
ozoneocean at 4:49AM, Nov. 25, 2008
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imshard
Not quite like a castle. Castles don't have dozens of dry-dock hatches, external stairs, and ladders pre-provided. Plus you can always let yourself in with a cutting torch and a spot of hull above the water line. I agree with Cartoonprofessor that these ships are simply to hard to secure on their own.
Haha, love the cutting idea. Man, that's even optimistic for experts, let alone the poor idiots who actually do the piracy. these are LADEN ships remember ;)
I can just imaging you and a team of cut-throats, scorching your way into the hull of a likely vessel cackling with piratical glee, and then sinking your speedboat under a torrent of grain lol!

The ladders, hatches and stairs thing, as well as the boarding ladder Bravo mentions are non-issues once you've taken measures to secure the ships. :)
I wouldn't say that except for the advice regarding those very things the U.S. navy is giving the crews of these ships now.
cartoonprofessor
Maybe Ozone has a point though. The companies could go high-tech. There is a lot of empty space around these huge ships. It should be easy enough to detect even a small speedboat in plenty of time to wake the crew and assume ‘battle stations’. With enough detection equipment appropriately placed any attempt to breach the hull or climb on board could be easily prevented.

But this type of equipment costs plenty of dollars. I guess if a company is losing enough money they would start investing in it… particularly as insurance costs begin to skyrocket as a result of the pirates.
You're right in that it wouldn't be hard at all to put some facility around the upper part of the ship to detect intrusion. You could even have an electrified screen. But they cost money ship owners couldn't be bothered spending. Maybe the underwriters will force them to eventually though.

as for detecting the boats at sea level, I tend to doubt that. If you used radar at that level it's too easy for them to hide behind anything… let alone the sea swell making them invisible. It's easier to detect them once they're higher up (using other methods), and without ladders or stairs they'd have to improvise their own, which would help. :)

Besides, I wouldn't want to rely on the poor crew to fight off intruders, I really would want guards.
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You can escort ships, if you can spare the vessels. But that's even more expensive than ship based security measures and resident guards, and navel ships on escort duty are being taken away from other important duties elsewhere.

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And speaking of escorts: the “pirate mother ship” that the Indian navy sunk was apparently a harmless fishing trawler.
Link
So thGuards are a better way to go than escorts and navies afterall :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
bravo1102 at 7:34AM, Nov. 26, 2008
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I guess if they can put silly loud car alarms in every car everywhere and they can put a sensor at the doors of every Wal-mart and loading dock they put something on the gangways of a merchant vessel.

But Ozone saying that sneaking aboard those ladders etc is a non-issue is to ignore the facts of modern ship architecture. If it's worthwhile to do it it is easily done. It's decidedly not a non-issue, not even at sea.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
ozoneocean at 6:04PM, Nov. 26, 2008
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bravo1102
I guess if they can put silly loud car alarms in every car everywhere and they can put a sensor at the doors of every Wal-mart and loading dock they put something on the gangways of a merchant vessel.

But Ozone saying that sneaking aboard those ladders etc is a non-issue is to ignore the facts of modern ship architecture. If it's worthwhile to do it it is easily done. It's decidedly not a non-issue, not even at sea.
I don't mean that the action is a non-issue, I mean that if these easy accesses are unusable then it is no longer an issue.
As I said, the U.S. navy is offering advice to shipping to close of these areas as well as remove boarding ladders, secure hatches. etc. If this rather exulted authority on the matter of shipping security thinks this can be done, well then I think it can be done too.
 
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harkovast at 6:31PM, Dec. 5, 2008
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Who is really to blame?
Captain Hook
Long John Silver
Black Beard
Jack Sparrow

If we could just catch these four, then the problem would be solved.
Or at the very least they might not make a 4th pirates of the caribbean movie, which is surely reason enough to arrest them?

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:42PM

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