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Somali piracy – the mercenary solution

  • October 18th, 2011

On 11 May this year I predicted that shipowners would soon get tired of effete Western navy handwringing and take the obvious step of hiring real defenders for their ships.

"The world's navies have been emasculated by their on-board lawyers (or those over-ruling the commanders on the spot from safe offices far away) in the fight against Somali pirates. Soon we will see shipowners engaging genuine private defenders. They'll sink pirate attackers and leave them to drown. The defenders will then melt away.

There will be widespread official connivance to allow the appearance of continuing observance of the foolish international law and conventions that have created the opportunity for the pirates."

The Economist reports it now as a movement well underway.

"In recruiting armed security men, some shipowners have defied the laws of the countries where their vessels are registered. But governments, unable to provide the naval cover the shipowners want, are one by one legalising the practice. Spain, one of the earliest to let its fishing-boats carry armed guards, said on September 27th that they would now be allowed to use machineguns and other heavy weapons against the pirates’ AK-47s."

I don't expect any early move from our government to approve such practical measures.  The pantywaists who've dominated New Zealand foreign policy for decades would regard the interests of kiwi seamen and yacht owners, and retired kiwi SAS personnel  who might like to be useful in protection work, as subordinate to their need to stay respectable with their corrupt and cynical mates at the United Nations. The Mercenary Activities (Prohibition) Act 2004 exposes New Zealanders involved to up to 14 years imprisonment.

I spoke strongly against the passage of that Act.

Its only relevant exclusion is probably not applicable while the official international line remains hostile. Our courts would be likely to hold that international conventions make the kind of self-defence described unlawful. Accordingly Kiwis on pirate privateer duty could not benefit from:

" A person is not a mercenary within the meaning of subsection (1)(a) or subsection (1)(b) if he or she is taking part in—

d) domestic policing duties or other lawful activities of a similar kind involving the protection of individuals or property".


  • anton vazey
  • August 19th, 2013
  • 3:03 pm

where do i sign ex private owned armed icebreaker would do the trick and run a ship escort service the ship could be registered in a country who supports this roll.capture the wepons,sink the boats or leave them adrift.sattelite drones from the mother ship and an ex army armed huey with m60 door gunners for added support fire and transport and boarding.

  • anton vazey
  • August 19th, 2013
  • 3:05 pm

can you still become a privateer of the crown like sir francis drake or do you have to become a pirate yourself?

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