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Pirates and other high seas encounters

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Ladies choice, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. Ladies choice

    Ladies choice New Member

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    Alex of Crewagency brought up a point to me in a email on the advantage of doing a retrofit of a commercial ship into a exploration yacht so that I could easily fit the toys I was so eager to bring along. I guess he missed my comment about the "industrial" look of these refit's into luxury yachts so for me that option is probably out.

    He mentioned though that this sort of look will be less attractive to Pirates compared to a luxury yacht.

    My question is this, Where in the world am I most likely to encounter pirates and other encounters with bad intentions of harm or theft?

    What measures are normally taken to thwart such events from occuring?

    I am intending on having a private security detail of 2-3 bodyguards, properly trained for defensive security while at sea or port and knowledgeble in high caliber weapons and the like for use.

    In a inquiry of one of the shipyards they told me putting in a 50 caliber gun mount is realistic and has been done in the past for a client. IS that one of the most popular large caliber guns available on the open market? I know you can buy one still at any gun dealer here in the USA, thanks to the ignorance of the laws and the reversal of the Brady act.

    IF a mount was put on a boat, what area is the best place to mount this? Bow, Stern, sides or all 4 , Main deck level or up higher?

    Now if i could only get the eye in the sky helm to come with a rotating ring blasting Laser beam! Now that would let me sleep at night in peace! lol

    What would end me up in jail for owning and even using if the time came to that in other parts of the world? Is say a 50 caliber legal but a rocket/grenade launcher a big no no? Just for discussion of course... I am not wanting to become a floating armory and take on any country's coast guard or shore patrol or Navy, but I would like to know my choices and then ramifications if protection of that sort was used. As the word is anything in the world is available if you have the money to buy it, I just don't want to find by buying something I am set up for legal troubles either inside USA waters or International or other countries by having it in a armory locker.

    How are the international maritime laws when regards to protecting life and property to the extent of blowing a boat out of the water and killing the assaliants?

    OK perhaps I am paranoid in my questions, but I also have read about a few yachties ending up as fish chum. So maybe I am not off base all that much in wanting to know what my limits are and what is realistic to have built in or put on a existing yacht for defensive/offensive protection.
  2. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    This is discussed here and weapons are almost always a no-no. Your future captain might have other ideas and if so, let him decide depending on where you are heading.
  3. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Here is a thread on piracy...

    http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2774&highlight=Pirates

    And some additional links...

    This is an information center detailing dangerous regions, a list of attacked ships, etc...
    http://www.yachtpiracy.org/en/index.htm

    This is the International Maritime Orginization's guidance/protocol against piracy and armed robbery...
    http://www.imo.org/includes/blast_bindoc.asp?doc_id=941&format=PDF

    It should be noted, most countries and organizations discourage the use of weapons. When approaching the coastal waters of various countries, you may be subject to the laws that govern each nation. The power to enforce the laws pertaining to firearms will vary with each government authority and some of them are not very understanding. Be prepared to surrender any firearms upon boarding by authorities and you may not be able to retain possession of them until you deport.
  4. Ben

    Ben Senior Member

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    I've read that insurance agencies won't cover you if you head into some of the more dangerous areas.

    On the subject of carrying your own protection, one of the most dangerous countries is also the least forgiving when it comes to carrying weapons. :eek:
  5. MYCaptainChris

    MYCaptainChris Senior Member

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    as a captain

    and I thought having a dog on board was a logistical nightmare!!!??? lol

    Having spent 4 months in the waters around Trinidad I became very aware of the threat of pirates, especially being onboard an 80 foot gin palace. I had no weapons at all!!! (just a nice flare gun!!!)

    I have often wondered however what the situation would be with a flame thrower? Is that considered a dangerous weapon? How about a cannon? These may seem like stupid ideas but who knows? they may be just whats needed against these thiefing scum.

    Chris
  6. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    It's really a shameful scenario, pirates & thieves can arm themselves, but we as civilians don't have the right to protect ourselves. And if you are forced to use preventive measures, lawyers will turn the whole scenario around making you the criminal. :rolleyes:

    The best defense is stay informed about potential areas of threat, by way of radio communications, bulletins or the internet. Short of that, I'm an advocate of surgical tubing slingshots, loaded with sulphuric acid water-balloons. :D

    All joking aside... I'd have to subscribe to Ronald Reagan's "Peace Through Strength" initiative. It brought an end to the cold-war and could have the same effect on piracy. If weapons were permitted (or even promoted as gear onboard yachts)... pirates would think twice!
  7. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Along the lines of deterrants.... are there any laws against having benign, non-functioning weapons onboard that give the appearance of actual weapons?

    Random thoughts encouraged...
  8. mwagner1

    mwagner1 Senior Member

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    Hmmmm

    What about rubber bullets??? Tasers?????? Of course, tasers are only options if the thieves actually are on the yacht.

    However, if you are in international waters (I do not know how far off shore you need to go to be in international waters), then how can a country dictate or limit your use of weapons??? I can see how they can fuss if you are in their port....

    I agree that being alert to areas that are prone to attacks is the best medicine, but was there not an attack close to Ft. Lauderdale recently???

    There is a company called Maritime Security who states on their site that they are fully aware of all countries regulations/restrictions/rules for carrying weapons on board and can help the owner/captain to be fully prepared for any encounter...and that means options that are lethal!!!!

    If it comes down to a deadly "me vs. them" then I will win..if it comes down to the possibility that I, my crew or guests will possibly be killed, then I will definitely engage......and I am not afraid of guns (growing up hunting, though I no longer do that) nor am I opposed to having them aboard if I and my captain are well aware of what we need to do when entering ports.

    A grim subject, but one that is apparently becoming a reality everywhere....either yacht owners fight back, or they either lose the yacht (which is insured and replaceable) or lose lives (which are NOT replaceable)....I know my feelings when it comes to the lives of those on board my future yacht.

    My $.02!!!

    Cheers,

    Mark
  9. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    For larger yachts there are detecting and deterrent systems to build in, but security is not a good internet topic. Shipyards and project managers should be able to tell you more on what is available and what has been used.
  10. Codger

    Codger YF Wisdom Dept.

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    Sorry, I just think that showing a dummy weapon is asking for serious trouble.
    In much of the world showing a weapon and using it or threatening with it as though it were real will get you the same response from the authorities as a real weapon would.
    Just my 2 cents. Don't ever show a weapon unless you are trained and prepared to use it. As to flare guns... they can be effective, but have you actually ever tried to use one at sea and actually hit something?
    I travel to fairly high risk areas and security concerns are best left to the professionals. Unless you are properly trained, hiring yourself to perform security functions is like hiring the kid running the water taxi at the marina to captain your vessel. There are plenty of places on this planet where it's pretty easy to get yourself killed over $10.00. There are plenty more places where security is not an issue. This is pleasure boating for most of the people here, why go somewhere that the pleasure factor will be reduced?
  11. Ladies choice

    Ladies choice New Member

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    thanks for the information, I agree that in depth detail discussions of security online isn't the place to do it, now that I have read the protocols and weighed the risks I pity the poor fools who attempt a high seas highjacking on a yacht I will own.

    Especially if we are off from shore, no names, no witness, no worries....
  12. KCook

    KCook Senior Member

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    I like what Codger said. Seems to me your best defenses would be distance, speed, and no *&^%$# swim platform hanging off the stern. Most criminals are lazy, so why make it easy for them? Stay well offshore, have the power available to make a run, and don't give the buggers any help in boarding.

    simple Kelly
  13. mariog

    mariog New Member

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    If you are going to have a small security detail on board, small arms fire is all thats needed if you really want to be armed. pirates probably will not board if security is visiable. also remember that the yacht itself is the best defence. If being run down by priates while under way and you cannot out run them. turn towards them and ram their vessal. it may sound horriable, but think of the mess that you are already in if being pursued by pirates! I think (hope) I would not hessitate to take this kind of action if my life depended on it. sepecially if I had an on board security detail like you want to have.
  14. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    What has been used with success many times, especially from smaller boats, is flare guns and those high flying parachute emergency flares.

    By launching flares all over the place and towards but not necessarily at the pirats, they usually go away. At least if there is a chance the rockets will be seen from shore, other yachts or planes.

    Using fire hoses spraying water is not bad either if they are close to board.

    Small costs and minimized risks for return fire.
  15. KCook

    KCook Senior Member

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    Hummm. For a new yacht design, it shouldn't be very hard to work in a whole array of high pressure water cannons. Very, very high pressure :D . Each steerable, and under remote control. A complementary network of surveillance cameras could provide your "targeting" info. So no need to expose yourself to return fire. Both water cannon "turrets" and cameras would be small enough to not end up making the yacht have a military look.

    Kelly
  16. JonS

    JonS Senior Member

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    So now, every yacht needs a small army on board... 'just in case!' ;) as well as fifteen firefighters to man the hoses! lol

    Laughter aside... How often do these incidents occur? Surely something as simple as security monitors would be a satisfactory deterant?
  17. Garry Hartshorn

    Garry Hartshorn Senior Member

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    Carl pretty well said it all and has provided excellent links to real information. I honestly believe that unless you have a crew of highly trained personel who have specialised in this field it's best to stay away from the known areas. People involved with piracy are ruthless and generally driven by poverty and wll not loose any sleep over ending another persons life. Unless you are ready willing and able to pull the trigger before they do don't get youself and other's into that situation.

    Garry
  18. catmando

    catmando Senior Member

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    I like this idea. Relatively inexpensive and VERY effective. Well-placed water cannons can completely disable most vessels pirates use.
  19. Kevin

    Kevin YF Moderator

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    Not to mention disabling the pirates...
  20. andymullen

    andymullen New Member

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    Peter Blake

    A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Peter & Pipa Blake when they came to Marmaris, Turkey. They were cruising the Med on their yacht "Archangel".
    He was sadly murdered by pirates at the mouth of the Amazon 6 months later.
    A tall, powerful man with a shotgun & he still died. Just be vigilant. When your number's up, it's up. I can imagine a poor fisherman in the Caribbean dashing towards a luxury yacht with outboard at full throtle to try & sell a few lobsters being blown out of the water by a 50mm canon.....