NAIROBI, Kenya – In the first killing of its kind, private security contractors shot dead a Somali pirate in a clash that left two skiffs riddled with bullet holes, officials said Wednesday.
The killing raises questions over who has jurisdiction over a growing army of armed guards on merchant ships flying flags from many nations.
There’s currently no regulation of private security on board ships, no guidelines about who is responsible in case of an attack, and no industrywide standards, said piracy expert Roger Middleton from the British think tank Chatham House.
“There’s no guarantee of the quality of individuals you are going to get,” said Middleton. “If you’re a shipping company, that could be legally concerning. It’s also concerning to everyone if you have individuals with guns and not much oversight out on the seas.”
Wine whine moan moan. I’m no expert in maritime law, but it would seem to me that if you’re in international waters and a ship is attacked, the laws that apply would be those of the country whose flag the ship is flying. And civilized countries (i.e., not Britain) allow one to defend oneself with proportionate force if attacked. It sounds like these guys did what they were paid to do, and the only tragedy is that the body count wasn’t higher.