Friday, May 1, 2009

Daily dose of stupid thwarted by common sense

Maersk Inc. Chairman John P. Clancey, in talking to Congress on what can be done to prevent piracy on US merchant ships, says the dumbest thing I have heard in a while, twice:
"Arming merchant sailors may result in the acquisition of ever more lethal weapons and tactics by the pirates, a race that merchant sailors cannot win," the Maersk Inc. chairman said in his prepared remarks.
They use AK-47s and RPGs right now; just what "more lethal" weapons does Clancey think that pirates will use? An RPK? Not a whole lot of difference in the scope of things. And how he thinks that the crew of a huge ship would be unable to arm with Superior weapons against pirates on a wimpy little motor boat is laughable. None the less, pirates with "more lethal" weapons were recently driven off by crew members with pistols. Twice.

Maersk Alabama Capt. Richard Phillips says that the crews should be armed:
"It would be my personal preference that a limited number of crew aboard the vessel have access to effective weaponry," Phillips told the panel, his wife and a crew member seated behind him.
His thoughts are shared by at least one other crew member from the Maersk Alabama.

Here's the second dose of stupid from Clancey:
And the notion of crew members, armed and out to sea for weeks or months, could be a recipe for deadly and costly accidents.
"There have been incidents where innocent bystanders have been killed," Clancey said. "There is exposure."
Innocent bystanders? Where? You have a crew of about a dozen guys on a big ass ship that's out to sea, or at anchor, and he's worried about bystanders? These guys could shoot howitzers while at sea and not hurt anybody. While at port they could put everything in an arms room under the control of a Master-at-Arms, and would be good to go.

As it stands, that still doesn't address the problem of insurance companies not covering ships with armed crews. Ultimately, that policy is pushed by fear of litigation, which is why I say that lawyers are gonna be the end of this world, not to mention sue happy people that pay them.

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