Tuesday, September 15, 2009
(who has both military and merchant marine experience)
While I agree with most of your points a few things may need clarification. First given that they hold reserve commissions Merchant Marine Academy graduates should all have basic firearms skills. It should be possible to arrange some course for the few nonveteran merchant seamen on US flag ships. 12 hour shifts sound nice but the standard for naval watches is 4 hours except for the "dog watches." If we are talking about a limited deployment of a team for up to two weeks then the shorter rotating watch could work. Agreed that after two weeks sleep deprivation becomes a factor. People start acting strange.
(who suggests using private security teams and who sails the Caribbean)
A professional security team could help IMHO. It should be possible to even deploy containerized 20 mm mounts that could be bolted on and removed after transit. Given the value of the ships some expenditure is reasonable and it should be born by the shipping company or insurer. A 6 man team sounds right if there is a support ship or a helicopter platform no more than 2 hours away. Otherwise the need for an embedded medical corpsman and commander and communications raise the number to at least 8. That would be the size of a SEAL or SOF squad on a detached mission.
The legal issues that inhibit the arming of Merchant ships only arose after WW-II. They are written on paper not in stone and the Congress should task the State Department with entering into agreements with other countries to facilitate the safety of US flagged ships. Other impediments to the US having a merchant shipping industry, such as the Jones Act, need to be addressed.
If I was sailing a yacht around in the Caribbean I would want a couple of guns in hidden sealed built in compartments, just in case.