Friedrich welcomes arming German cargo ships
German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has welcomed the suggestion to put privately-hired armed guards on cargo vessels to stop pirate attacks.
Speaking on Saturday in Berlin, Friedrich said military protection for cargo ships was "spread very thin" around the world, and called the deployment of private security firms "useful."
Friedrich said the government was currently considering various options to better protect the 450 German ships against attacks. But he emphasized that the best way of preventing attacks would be fight the causes of crime in the countries where pirates originate.
The number of pirate attacks on German ships has risen from 100 to 163 during the first half of 2011. The number of successful hijackings had dropped though, from 27 in the first half of 2010 to 21 in the first six months of this year.
German shipping companies are increasingly turning to private firms for security.
State efforts to offer protection have not made much of a splash, with the European Union mission ‘Atalanta’ offering two operation teams – a German and an Estonian – but German ships alone undertake around 1,700 trips through pirate-infested areas each year.