For those of you who have not seen the film, or don't simply remember the story well enough from the news, the crew of the Maersk cargo ship Phillips was in charge of had about a day to truly prepare themselves for the pirates that boarded their ship, after repelling the initial attack with a slick bluff, a bit of fancy maneuvering, and a patch of good luck. These guys didn't just have time to break rifles out of a locker. They had time to do target practice, devise plans specific to the threat already encountered and even learn a bit about moving and communicating as a fire team. They even had plenty of time to break rifles out of a lock box and convince the pirates they weren't worth messing with when the first attempt to board them had been made on the previous day. But they were unarmed.
Watching this film, it's painfully obvious that just one decent rifle of almost any description in the hands of a single competent ship's officer would have been more than adequate to drop the lead pirate off his boarding ladder, dead. And from what the rest of that malnourished bunch looked like, it's very doubtful they would have tried again after that nasty surprise.Phillips himself seems more than man enough to have taken care of business with a rifle in his hands. That failing, after the pirates were on board, things would have been harder to manage. But it seems most likely that if the crew was even lightly armed and marginally competent with firearms, they still would have made quick work of their attackers.
Five hundred bucks for a decent rifle and a place to lock it up. That's about all that stood between that ship and a relatively safe cruise to its destination. But really -- given the value of the ship and its cargo, the value of the crew and officers and the incredible effort required to get them out of this jam, couldn't Maersk afford a couple of FN 240Bs, or M2 Brownings? And again -- whatever BS stands in the way of self defense on the high seas -- don't care -- because it doesn't change the fact that the level of vulnerability these crews are subjected to actually makes less sense than the rationale driving Somali pirates to attack them. And the Somali pirates -- they're plenty crazy.