Shiver me timbers and shades of Captain Jack Sparrow! This time those Somalian brigands almost got one of our Zim container ships and the nearly 250 containers on board. This was the first time a Zim Line container ship came so close to getting caught by those little dark guys who chase merchant marine vessels with speed boats and carrying weapons ranging from AK-47’s and RPG’s to 50 caliber machine guns..
The Zim Company seems to have taken at least some precautionary measures, as they had put barbed wire at places where the pirates would usually climb on board. There must have been an element of luck this time as well because this bunch of pirates didn’t seem to be as well armed as others have been â€“ they could have blown the wire away with a well place RGB round.
A German ship that came along afterwards wasn’t so lucky, however, and now it and its luckless crew are “guests” of the Mogadishu Gang.
Modern maritime shipping law seems to want to keep weapons from being carried on these vessels, something that wouldn’t have been approved of in earlier days when all merchant ships had to have an arsenal of weapons on board, including a number of “ten pounders” or larger cannon in the event people like Capt. Sparrow or Blue Beard might just make a “courtesy call”. Most likely, the idea is to prevent mutiny by the crew which is often an assortment of people, from countries like Kenya, the Philippines, and others. Under present maritime agreements, only the ship’s captain is allowed to carry a weapon, and it’s usually only a pistol.
Maritime shipping laws need to be changed to allow weapons and even armed guards aboard merchant vessels, especially those venturing into pirate infested waters. Those pirates might think twice if they find themselves staring into the muzzle of a 20 or 30 m/m rapid fire cannon. After all, armored cars hauling money, commercial aircraft, and many other conveyances have armed guards, so why can’t merchant vessels? It appears that some revisions need to be made in international maritime laws and the sooner the better. Enough is enough!