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Monday, April 26, 2010

Navy Admiral Supports Arming Merchant Ships

Navy Adm. Mark P. Fitzgerald, commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa and of NATO’s Allied Joint Task Force, told reporters he thinks merchant ships should arm themselves against pirates.

Three cheers for Admiral Fitzgerald.

Answering questions at the Pentagon, Fitzgerald said it was impossible for even a fleet of warships and patrol vessels to cover the areas currently under siege by pirates. He believes merchant ships should be armed. He also believes something needs to be done about our current catch-and release-policy. Currently there are about 35 international warships patrolling the area. has more on the story here.

Let's hope shipping companies take the advice and begin arming their ships and training their crews accordingly. And while they're at it, they can be providing hazardous duty pay to crews transiting dangerous waters.

I'm not completely unsympathetic to the troubles in Somalia and the desperation and disenfranchisement that accompanies abject poverty. But life-threatening, antisocial criminal activity, no matter what it's source or motivation, should have dire consequences. At present, the rewards for this activity far outweigh the risks.



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