A lot of talk over how to combat these new age pirates has been going on for a few years, with the only major action being the increase of foreign warships in the waters off western Africa. Has this helped? Anyone following the news this week is well aware of the capture of an American merchant vessel by pirates of the coast of Somalia. So in short, no, using modern warships has not helped. Much of the blame can be attributed to the lack of sufficient numbers in armed ships as well as the rules of engagement agreed upon by many of the nations taking part in the anti-piracy patrols.
Let me suggest an idea that has already received some talk on the internet. Look back to the two World Wars and one will find a few possible solutions to piracy. Namely, money could be spent to convert merchant ships into Q-Ships or Commerce Raiders. Simply put, add some heavy firepower with well trained crews to a few merchant vessels and let the pirates enjoy the surprise. Current rules of engagement and many other international maritime laws would need to be revised, but disguised warships could deter, and possibly thwart, many pirate attacks.
Would armed vessels really be effective? A German Commerce Raider, Atlantis, sank twenty-two merchant vessels during her brief career until she was sunk by the British in 1941. During both World Wars, Q-Ships and Commerce Raiders feel victim to enemy submarines and warships. At present, the pirates do not operate anything remotely similar to the large fleets possessed by the world powers during the World Wars, therefore modern disguised warships could take on any pirate mother-ship with a good margin of success.
Any thoughts or better anti-piracy suggestions?