The chief of the world maritime body made a strong plea on Tuesday for merchant ships travelling in pirate-infested waters to resist the temptation of carrying firearms to fight off attacks.
Efthimios Mitropoulos, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organisation, said vessels that carried such weapons could make themselves targets of pirates hoping to seize the guns and use them for unlawful purposes.
"Merchant ships should not carry firearms for a number of reasons," Mitropoulos told Reuters in describing the IMO's concern over a growing trend among commercial shippers to hire private security firms for protection in pirate-infested waters.
Apart from the prospect of the weapons being a lure for pirates, risks also arose from the need to train people in the use of firearms and the chance that they might kill others if they took excessive steps in defence, Mitropoulos said.
"So you may aggravate things rather than doing what you want, which is to prevent pirates from attacking ships in the first place," he added. "So, for all these reasons, the position of the IMO is that merchant ships should not carry firearms."
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Armed merchant ships as an anti-piracy measure? Oh, no, says secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization, that would be bad- right here: