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Friedrich welcomes arming German cargo ships

The Local · 20 Aug 2011, 13:55

Published: 20 Aug 2011 13:55 GMT+02:00

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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.

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:59 August 20, 2011 by storymann
Arming ships will increase insurance costs, since insurance must now cover a range of liability and death situations.

Most ports won't let an armed ship dock. Period. You aren't sailing into San Francisco with mercenaries carrying RPGs on board. Since a merchant ship may dock at many different ports, carrying weapons would be a problem.

Ships carrying chemicals or gas don't want weapons aboard, and don't want to provoke a firefight.

From a pirate's standpoint: if the crew is a threat, why not just kill them?

A few points to ponder.
16:58 August 20, 2011 by DOZ
Building up your Naval Armada without violating the Surrender Treaty, using Armed Cargo Ships. Smart move.
17:08 August 20, 2011 by johnny108
I have worked in this job before- an armed guard aboard a vessel. The pay is good, the job is straightforward (you know who your enemy is very easily), and it is good experience.

The saddest part is dumping the weapons overboard when you reach the territorial waters of your destination- thus preventing a need to declare an "armed ship".

Mostly- your job as an armed guard is to keep the ships' crew from panicking, and making a mistake.

Speeding up, using the radio and satellite phones to call for help, and dumping a LOT of rope over the side is pretty much all you need to do. (The rope must float, so it can foul the propellers of the pursuing vessel). If the attacking pirates raise an RPG- you use a well placed shot to damage their engine, again, problem solved.

The biggest legal problem is getting weapons imported into the port that the ship is starting from....
07:19 August 21, 2011 by belladons
The current perception is that many nations support the transfer of wealth through piracy. Many nations do not use rational and analytical thought, and will not be pragmatic in the resolving of this piracy. Piracy has now become big business as it supports extremist organizations that disregard the nation state. I support Minister Friedrich's reasoning.
10:39 August 21, 2011 by storymann
belladons, excellent point. I believe that the problem needs to be addressed at the source, however.
22:14 August 23, 2011 by Whipmanager
We just need to take up arms, go kill a great many of the bad guys and beat them back. It took a couple hundred years from the last time for it to rear its ugly head again in a major fashoin.
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