Private Security Guards Repel Somali Pirates

No background on this clip from liveleak.com showing private security guards using ye olde M4 to discourage Somali pirates from boarding a commercial vessel going about its business off the coast of Africa. Methinks it’s only a matter of time before the pirates alter their strategy. And the guards end-up paraphrasing Bullwinkle J. Moose: I gotta get me a bigger gun. [h/t Bryan]

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

74 Responses to Private Security Guards Repel Somali Pirates

  1. avatarMikeS says:

    pwned

  2. avatarGeoff says:

    “repel borders!” Age old martime tradition, on that note anyone up for a little cruise?

  3. avatarCmdrlimpet says:

    Not a bad start. I think a pintle-mounted 240B would probably minimize the decision time for pirates.

    • avatarBig J says:

      I’m with you. There is nothing so pants-poopingly terrifying as a long burst from something belt fed.

  4. avatarAaron says:

    I forgot who wrote it, but there’s a pretty neat short story called “to repel boarders” about a different sort of modern-day pirate.
    Another take on piracy: Seized, by Max Hardberger – ships seized by thieves changing ships registry paperwork with the help of corrupt third-world magistrates.

  5. avatarAPBTFan says:

    Funny this came up. The other day when the “mega whatever” lottery was so high my buddy told me if he won he’d love to buy an opulent, very gaudy yet armored yacht just to sail those very seas to draw in pirates. He was thinking M2′s all around but I told him to hell with those and get a few 25mm Bushmasters. Beautiful weather, calm seas, endless beers and plenty of deserving targets – my kind of vacation.

    • avatarJames says:

      Because premeditated murder is so relaxing.

      • avatarDirk Diggler says:

        GET SOME! GET SOME! GET SOME!

      • avatarDubya Bee says:

        Cops bait the bad guys all the time. Just because it’s a plan doesn’t make it wrong.

        You’ve never seen a video of a cop playing a drunk in a subway? How else are you going to catch muggers/pirates.

        Carrying a concealed weapon because someday you might need it is premeditation, isn’t it?

        There are many types of homicide, not all of them are murders.

      • avatarbobby b says:

        “Because premeditated murder is so relaxing.”

        Not murder at all.

        It’s the Forecastle Doctrine.

      • avatarcaffeinated says:

        There’s a difference between murder and just desserts which you fail to see James.

        • avatarkarlb says:

          Please remember that the pirates used to be fishermen, but illegal harvesting by international fishing boats (no central government to protect their waters) and illegal dumping of toxic wastes have destroyed their livelihood. What they are doing is wrong, and they should be repelled, but let’s not be gleeful of their deaths.

        • avatarcaffeinated says:

          Actually the corruption and collapse of their entire country has more to do with it. Sure illegal fishing and dumping has to do with it, but there is only so much you can blame others for. If that is the case, why don’t they go blast commercial fishing boats and barges?

          Their circumstances suck no doubt, but piracy should not be tolerated.

      • avatarHal says:

        Unfortunate circumstace does NOT excuse piracy. It’s unfortunate that, in the eyes of some, seeking out and confronting evil is now murder in their minds. A weak and flawed ideology that ensures evil will thrive forever.

        • avatarJosh says:

          Its not about evil… These guys are desperate and dangerous. Do they need to be stopped? Hell yes… but killing them isn’t something I’d celebrate… its the same thing as getting attacked by a wild animal. No malice.. but I’ll kill to defend.
          The folks who really need killing? The pirate warlords who sit comfortably back on the coast while they send drugged up teenagers and assorted low-men on the totem pole to do the boarding. The boarders are totally expendable.. there were plenty of cases of boats breaking down and the pirate bases not even bothering to send another boat to rescue… just let them fend for themselves and die of thirst.

      • avatarTS says:

        +1 to you, James.

    • avatarNot Too Eloquent says:

      Scary dudes

    • avatarAPBTFan says:

      Ain’t murder if they’re sailing up to take over any ship. They’re playing a dangerous game and have displayed no problem killing innocent crew members. They are cruel people and cruelty just might beget cruelty. If turning the tables on murderers is murder then so be it.

      • avatarJames says:

        It’s murder – regardless of circumstance – to, with malice aforethought (as APBTFan described), “he’d love to buy an opulent, very gaudy yet armored yacht just to sail those very seas to draw in pirates. He was thinking M2′s all around[...]“

        That’s premeditated murder by any definition – moral, legal, biblical, or otherwise – knowingly putting yourself into a life or death situation with the intent of killing another human being for sport.

        The response he left me is all too telling:
        “Ain’t murder if they’re sailing up to take over any ship. They’re playing a dangerous game and have displayed no problem killing innocent crew members. They are cruel people and cruelty just might beget cruelty. If turning the tables on murderers is murder then so be it.”

        In fantasizing about taking another person’s life – under any circumstance – you’re clearly not playing with a full deck, and you’re the type of gun enthusiast that makes the rest of us look bad.

        • avatarDubya Bee says:

          “That’s premeditated murder by any definition – moral, legal, biblical…”

          If you’re the _good_ “type of gun enthusiast,” does that mean you refrain from concealed carry, or in fact ANY plan to use a gun to defend yourself? Any preparation to use force falls under premeditation, as you use it.

          Self defense is neither legally or morally wrong, whether or not you are prepared for it. Otherwise, why is it that the courts acknowledge “justifiable” homicide?

          And biblically, it’s not wrong either. The commandment usually translated as not to “kill” is not easily translated from the original Hebrew. A lengthier and closer translation might be “to kill without justification, or unrighteously.

          God certainly demonstrates the very real distinction between justifiable and unjustifiable homicide, since he commands law violators to be killed, while punishing unrighteous killing.

          The friend fantasizing about his boat is going to an extreme to demonstrate his frustration with the state of war that exists but that our leaders refuse to prosecute. If that makes us the “bad” type of enthusiast so be it. I’m not going to constrain my choice of word or idiom to that which will not disturb a leftist.

        • avatarJames says:

          All you people seem to miss the point entirely.

          Put down the can of beer, spit out the tobacco plug, and pay close attention.

          I live just outside Detroit, Michigan. I have to drive through Detroit five, sometimes six, days a week to get to/from my place of employment. This is one of several reasons I carry a pistol with me everywhere I go. I think of possibilities, calculate odds, imagine possible scenarios, and otherwise do my best to mentally prepare for a life-or-death situation that may or may not ever arise.

          Suppose, for an instance, I change up my tactics. Let’s say that on my way home at 3:30 in the morning (I work an oddball shift), I decide to take my car into a crime-plagued neighborhood, turn on the hazard lights, and park on the side of the street with the full intent of shooting potential carjackers or robbers as they appear. A carjacker is just a pirate on land, after all. Same methodology, same process, same goals.

          Would that make me some kind of hero? Or just some armchair commando with masturbatory, superhero fantasies of ridding the biggest hellhole in America of its crime problem, one scumbag at a time?

          Would I be doing my fellow gun owners any favors by publicly announcing my intentions? Would others, apparently with necks of varying degrees of redness, be doing anybody in the Gun Enthusiast community any favors by jumping in the middle of the circle-jerk and offering up their own adolescent fantasies?

          FLAME DELETED

        • avatarDarren says:

          Bit of a legal difference in that this is on the high seas in international waters. In theory (and I emphasize the theory part) there is a government in Detroit with deputized officers of the law whose job it is to keep the peace, investigate crimes and incarcerate offenders. At sea, not so much. There, you’re on your own, legally and literally.

        • avatarJames says:

          Whatever.

          None of that changes the fact that people who call themselves responsible gun owners and imagine themselves to be stand-up, law-abiding citizens are little more than barely-restrained killers.

          They’ve already mentally dehumanized the enemy, and now are formulating “what if” and “how to” scenarios for going out, initiating contact (or baiting a trap, however you want to put it) and taking the life of another human being, supposedly in the name of upholding justice, but with the caveat that it’ll be some good, down-home fun. ‘Merka – F*** Yeah!

          It’s sick, and that’s more non-human than anything Somali pirates may or may not be up to.

          And, again, back to the carjacking scenario: DPD? Seriously? Upholding law & order? Get real. DPD is a patch of bubble gum over a crack in a crumbling dyke. The justified homicide rate is 2900% above national average. Unjustifiable homicide (read: murder) rate is legendary, and has been for decades. Rape and robbery, too. All the violent crimes, really.

          So again, the question stands: Would that make me a hero of some sort? Laying in wait for some drug-addicted robber and ridding society of a problem?

        • avatarcaffeinated says:

          Relax James. It’s all talk. How many people here actually expect to win the lotto and they go on a pirate hunting expedition?

          No one is actually going to sit in the ghetto waiting to get robbed either.

        • avatarJames says:

          If you can’t or won’t answer the question I’m asking, then quit replying to my posts.

          A number of people above us are, under the guise of responsibility and moral activity, are condoning actively baiting and murdering human beings.

          Now that we know where you stand on the issue, I’m curious to know what others think.

          Thanks for your input.

        • avatarcaffeinated says:

          Would you be terribly opposed to baiting murders out of the woodwork and killing them before they kill you? Could you be saving the lives of potential future victims? Would I do this? NO. Would I really care if someone is killing off murderers? That’s also a no.

          There are plenty of yachts and other small water craft that are taken by pirates and the crew killed or sold into sexual slavery. The vessel is used for a couple of dope or human cargo runs and then sunk. I have ZERO issue with anyone killing any of the folks doing this.

        • avatarAccur81 says:

          Well, he’s probably not going to win the Mega Lotto, and probably won’t be able to purchase an armored yacht. I feel more relaxed already…

        • avatarAPBTFan says:

          “Put down the can of beer, spit out the tobacco plug, and pay close attention.”

          Nice! Thanks for the Huffington Post generalization. Just to be clear I drink my beer from green bottles, don’t chew and have a very short attention span. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we should waste hundreds of millions of dollars to fix a broke ass country so we hopefully don’t have to shoot at druggie pirates. I wonder how much us taxpayers spent to have a SEAL team make head shots on them to save Captain Richard Phillips. Or how about the SEAL team that rescued an American and a Dane held captive by them. Lotta money compared to open season on pirates. That part of the world only understands and operates by force. Meet force with force. Call it ugly or immoral but that’s the currency there.

        • avatarYdneas says:

          That’s not entirely true – killing other people is basic human nature. We have layers of socialization and morality that make us feel bad about doing that, but the basic instinct remains. You can go ahead and call me a sociopath, but why do you think zombie movies are so popular, and all these folks would love to shoot these pirates? It’s justified, guilt-free murder, and it appeals to our deepest, darkest most primitive instincts while neatly circumventing all the neat societal rules we’ve been raised to follow.

        • avatarAPBTFan says:

          Not a sociopath, a realist.

        • avatarThe Bear says:

          It’s not murder. These “pirates” are armed and come with hostile intent. If someone comes at you with clearly hostile intent, gets on your premises, breaks into your home, will you wait for him to shoot you or will you shoot him first?

          I will shoot him first. Simple as that.

          He doesn’t want to get shot? Then don’t come at me armed with hostile intentions.

          Warning shots are too good for these buggers. Sink them, put the survivors on trial and hang them from the yard arm. That’s how the Royal Navy took care of the pirates in the past. And it worked.

          There’s an entire fleet operating in that area and their success, despite the massive load of boats, has been barely worth mentioning this far. These “pirates” are nothing else but terrorists, they are not protected by any convention. Sink them without warning. Simple as that. They want to live? Well, then don’t go pirating.

        • avatarCarlosT says:

          Pirates have never been protected by any convention.

        • avatarJoe Grine says:

          It can’t be murder because murder only applies if the “victim” is a human. sammie pirates don’t count.

        • avatarMichael B says:

          Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being. I guess the question is: is it unlawful to hunt and kill pirates on the high seas?

        • avatarcaffeinated says:

          If someone fires upon me no matter where I am at, that is justification enough for me to end the threat. If it’s international waters and someone fires or attempts to board me with ZERO legal authority to do so; I will do my best to end that threat as well.

        • avatarMichael B says:

          Yeah, that’s self-defense. The US government could issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal to authorize private citizens to hunt pirates down. Will they? Doubtful.

        • avatarDarren says:

          Historically it has not been ‘murder’ to kill pirates. It has been policy.

    • avatarAaron says:

      Deck-mounted “hardware” would be lead to problems as soon as you hove into the view of the harbormaster’s field glasses. Best to stick with shoulder arms with punch that can be stowed well below deck as you leave international waters.

    • avatarDarren says:

      The next bigger stick beyond Bushmasters would be Javelins. Lock onto the IR sig of the outboard motor and away you go. Keeps the local shark population healthy, too.

      As far as sympathy for the pirates goes, I got none. They know the risks they’re taking, and I’m sure James and karlb, while clearly more advanced than the rest of us Neanderthals, are not quite so enlightened as to offer himself as replacement hostages so the crews of the captured ships can be repatriated to their families.

      I think NATO needs to standardize a gallows, mount them to the backs of their ships and start using them. This has been the historical response to pirates, we really only got pirates back once we started excusing their behavior. I am not interested in WHY these people want to steal, murder and threaten lives, I am interested in discouraging the behavior. If SF/Marines have to go onto a ship to get you off and you’re not the crew or owners, you get a short drop, a sudden stop and a free burial at sea.

  6. avatarSanchanim says:

    I would think they would outfit their security with heavier weapons as well, but good to see that they were able to get them to go away!

    • avatarPT says:

      5.56×45 at long distance sucks as has been demonstrated in Afganistan. I can see having m4′s for close range like in the video, but you would think a .50cal to fire some warning shots at 1000+ yards would be a lot better then letting them get that close and even crash into the side of the ship while opening up with F/A.

      I don’t know the range of a RPG but I would want a weapon that can beat its range by 2x or 3x in case they decide to shoot back.

      • avatarDubya Bee says:

        RPG-7 max: 900 m, effective: 200 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPG-7)

        I can hit black at 500 with my civvy M-4 clone, but I’ve never tried it when the target is moving and bobbing up and down.

        What would effective range be for the .50 in that scenario? The snipers that took out the pirates with the .50 did it when the pirates were in tow, very close. Even then they were quite concerned about getting immediate hits, due to the bobbing.

  7. avatarTom says:

    Raiding the Pirate Ports as Stephen Decatur did is overdue. I would think we and other countries would have naval and marine assets that could extract a penalty on the pirates.

    • avatarDirk Diggler says:

      unmanned weaponized drones. just saying . . . . .

      • avatarTom says:

        That has been brought up on other forums. Not a bad idea, but I like a fuller spectrum of options.

        • avatarDirk Diggler says:

          you haven’t seen what is out there and being developed. working in the defense industry, all I can say is the proverbial “trust me” – the cool shit is being tested

        • avatarGarynyer says:

          till they use it in montana

  8. avatarJohn Fritz says:

    Those guards need to load up some of these to assist with their shot placement.

  9. avatarAharon says:

    That first skiff got damn close. Too close. Was the call for warning shots heeded or not? When did the guards change from warning shots to shoot to kill?

    • avatargar says:

      I was wondering the same thing. Seemed like a whole lot of shots for just “warning”. Hard to tell from the video, though.

      Hope those private guards had some optics on their guns.

      • avatarAharon says:

        I wonder if the voice ordering warning shots was only half-serious since they were filming the defense fire.

        • avatarEviljay says:

          I think some of the “warning shots” missed and hit the pirates. Better get some optics.

  10. avatarThe Bear says:

    Pity they didn’t have the hardware to sink them. Two less boats, a random number of pirates gone, too. Win in my book.

  11. avatarBarstow Cowboy says:

    At what point is it legal to kill someone just for approaching your boat in their boat? How can we say for sure that they were blood thirsty pirates? Isn’t it a bit like racial profiling to say that skinny black guys in beat up skiffs are always pirates and can be shot on sight? There’s common sense and then there’s the law. I know what common sense says, but what does the law say about this stuff? Maybe they were just out cruising around and wanted to ask the guys on the big ship if they had any Grey Poupon?

  12. avatarTom says:

    Instead of M4s, I would have used something in 7.62 NATO.
    A .50 caliber Barret would have been nice as well.

  13. avatarMatt Gregg says:

    If something like this “premeditated murder” then taking a walk in a high crime area while carrying is also premeditated murder.

    • avatarSamuel says:

      No. Walking into a high crime area while carrying with the soul intent being to draw crime to you so that you can kill people is murder.

      • avatarRalph says:

        If it is, then let there be more of it.

      • avatarcaffeinated says:

        So I wonder how many murders you would stop by killing off some pirates? It’s not like Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean you know. You also aren’t making the first strike.

        Quite honestly, YOUR tax dollars pay for those high crime areas as well as mine. You have more right there than most of the non-tax payers in some of these hoods.

  14. avatartdiinva says:

    Up arming is not option for the pirates. Their motherships are low profile fishing craft and dhows displacing a few hundred tons at most. Anything larger and they become easy targets for patrolling naval vessels. The pirate boarding parties use inflatable zodiacs which can at best mount a 50 cal/12.7 MG. The average modern merchant displaces more tonnage then an Iowa class BB. The armament options for merships are virtually unlimited. I would recommend the Oto-Melara 76 mm used on FFG-7 class frigates.

    • avatarPhilthegardener says:

      Lovely thought. But those Italian jobs cost a pretty penny. I agree that something in the area of a Barret and/or .308 to reach out and touch someone before they get within ak-spray range. But looking at it from their point of view, shooting at a 40,000 dwt freighter going 16knots while riding an inflatable skiff doesn’t sound very productive.

    • avatarcmd says:

      During my last deployment in 2010, we saw a variety of dhows and wooden skiffs used by pirates. We didn’t see any zodiacs or inflateable rafts anywhere. Some of the dhows were good size. The pirates are not concerned with Naval vessels. There is a strict set of criteria and procedures that must followed before a boarding is allowed. The pirates know this. We would follow them for days before permission from leadership was granted. Most of the time it was not granted unless it was believed that vessel had actually comitted an act of piracy.

      Even if we boarded and found contriband, they would be detained for a bit. They would eat and sleep better than before. Then transported to land and turned over to one of the local Coast Guards. We would leave and the pirates would be set free. Very few have ever been tried in a court much less convicted of piracy.

      • avatartdiinva says:

        Unless boarded by the RoKs or the Russians :)

        You wouldn’t see the Zodiacs because they aren’t going to be boarding you. Most of the attackers I know about have used fast boats operating from dhows and fishing boats. You aren’t going to catch a mership with a mothership.

      • avatarMegaZappin says:

        I’m currently deployed under 5th fleet and am right there with you. Never seen zodiacs but the shui’ dhows can get quite large and may be used as mother ships but the majority of attacks published are perpetrated by multi outboard skiffs. All said and done no matter who you’re up against I’d put NY money on an M-240B and an adequately trained operator any day!

    • avatarJosh says:

      Sounds like someone spent some time in Djibouti…

  15. avatarScott says:

    I kept waiting for them to deploy those stupid rockets from Red Jacket. I guess those videos are only played in homes of Somalian pirates.

  16. avatarmp says:

    Get over yourself james

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