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Use Of Firearms To Deter Pirates

By doina — last modified Mar 27, 2007 12:40 PM

Published: 2007-03-27 12:40:50
Topics: Self-defence and Deterring Attacks

Why is it that no one, in any of the accounts given on the Noonsite piracy pages, had so much as a hand gun to defend themself with? I am reading accounts of people fending off attackers with pepper spray, and pirates robbing people at knife poiint, and other accounts of people whose only defense seemed to be radioing for help and trying to outrun the attackers. Is there something I don't understand? Does carrying a firearm present excessive trouble in ports? Is it illegal to carry firearms on the open seas? Why are none of these yachts well-armed enough to defend themselves? From reading these accounts it is obvious most of these pirates are opportunistic, and would thus be easily deterred by gunfire - so why is this option never used or discussed? I am very curious about this.

Noonsite: The question of whether to carry firearms is of course a personal one and has been covered at length in the new edition of "World Cruising Survey" by Jimmy Cornell. A minority of yachts do carry guns, and of those that don't I would say the reasons for not doing so are several: it does mean an extra lot of hassle when clearing into basically all countries as guns have to be declared to customs and sealed onboard, sometimes taken ashore for the duration of the stay. Also many people feel a gun could aggravate a situation when attacked, and for persistent, well-armed pirates a whole arsenal would be needed. Far better to avoid trouble spots to begin with.

posted 2004

michaelsharplaw says:
Jun 06, 2014 12:56 AM

I believe a valid concern would be accused of trafficking firearms. Military weapons (HK MR762) and a host of additional weapons could be considered potentially profitable for any southern-bound cruiser. Should an inspection reveal any undisclosed firearm, then the crew would conceivably be considered smugglers and may very well find their vessel confiscated by the local authorities, at the least, and may find yourself incarcerated in a country not so ameniable to firearms. Just a consideration.

euroamerican says:
Feb 16, 2014 01:03 AM

I see that your comment is almost 10 years old so I'm not sure if you'll know that I wrote this, but let me say, I'm an American and I'm preparing to head out to sea for some global traveling. I read your comment and I have to totally agree with your points. I've done extensive research on gun carriage (in international waters and national waters) and it seems that most skippers choose NOT to carry guns, unless, of course, they aren't telling anyone. There's an old adage here in America that says "Better to be judged by a jury of 12 than carried in a casket by 6". I don't know why more people are not carrying guns with them, either legal ones (hunting shotgun and hunting rifle), or those considered illegal ones depending on ones countries laws (handguns and military style rifles/shotguns). I know there are people out there that think Americans are gun crazy lunatics who carry a gun in each pocket. Well, that's not entirely true, we carry guns, but not in each pocket. All joking aside, I would prefer not to get into a discussion about whether guns should be legal or not legal, but in America, when law abiding citizens have guns, contrary to popular belief, and what the media tells you, crime actually goes down. However, my point is this, I plan on taking guns with me on my voyage. A couple of handguns, a hunting rifle, an HK MR762 (military style rifle) a 12 gauge shotgun and some ammo for each. I plan to place them in secure, out of the way, "hidden" locations.

Regardless of the laws of the countries I plan to visit, the only gun I will declare will be the hunting rifle. The others stay hidden (and won't be discovered by any custom agents). I'm willing to take on that responsibility because I know that the world we live in today is not safe; plain and simple. I've never been arrested. I've never done harm or damage to anyone or anything. I'm about as peaceful and sweet as the come. But I'm not a fool, either. And the violent stories that are coming out regarding various forms of piracy and vandalism, has convinced me "Safety First". Sadly, from what I read by fear mongers is that those who choose to carry guns for defensive purposes are often considered extremists. Personally, I know that couldn't be further from the truth. However, if one is not skilled with a gun, not sure of themselves, then, things can get out of hand. I carry for security and "peace" of mind, knowing, if someone enters my sacred space, if some one is attacking me, my family, my boat, I will be able to defend myself with the best tools I have to do the job.

As we all know, He who carries the biggest gun, usually has the advantage, whether that be pirates or the U.S. Navy/Coast Guard. But I'm willing to play the odds to make sure I have a "fighting" chance. Sadly, many people from many countries have been brainwashed to believe "guns kill people". The reality is, "people kill people" regardless of the tool and method.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth. Good luck and be safe, and may your voyage be filled with only positive experiences.