Earlier this month a court in Mumbai, India, sentenced a group of 15 pirates to 6 months in prison, plus time served.
In January 2011 25 Somali nationals attempted to board a merchant ship 1,400 nautical miles off the coast of their nation. The crew of the ship sent an emergency distress signal to the Indian Navy and Coast Guard, which responded quickly. The ensuing firefight killed 10 of the 25 pirates. The remaining 15 have been incarcerated in India for the last six-and-a-half years.
“The offenders have been given a lesson that in India there is rule of law and that the offenders are brought to justice,” said special public prosecutor Ranjeet Sangle. “From 2011, since the pirates were arrested, the entire piracy operation in the western waters of India has come down . . . now, I believe that it will go down to zero.”
Unfortunately for merchant ships, the prospect of seven years in prison isn’t much of a deterrent, especially given the large potential payoff pirates receive when they are successful.
But the firefight, resulting capture, and eventual conviction of these pirates should send a very important message to those who sail through high risk waters (HRWs):
A trained and armed presence on or near your ship can protect you and your crew from dangerous pirates.
Over the last several years pirates in HRWs have kidnapped crew to hold them for ransom, stolen highly valuable cargo, and even ended the lives of those on board the ships they attack.
But since 2009 Meridian.us has guarded hundreds of voyages, and has successfully defended ships from pirate attacks and suspicious approaches—all without needing to fire a shot.