So you hear of a pirate attack, and you pursue the pirates and then what?
"The authorities have to be very careful with the law of the sea and United Nations charters," [David] Cordingly [author of "Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates."] said. "Nowadays you can't simply charge in with warships, blast the pirates and hang them on the waterfront."No, because that would violate the pirates human rights, or the rights of individual states to be havens for lawlessness or something. The principle of "hot pursuit" apparently doesn't apply - so once they get into territorial waters they are "safe at home." (There are 2 or 3 UN Security Council resolutions that say you can pursue into Somali waters, but they don't seem to be in effect for some reason.)
So, what about self-defense? If the authorities can't help, what about helping yourself?
Bringing weapons on board ships is "strongly discouraged" by the United Nations' International Maritime OrganizationI can't find the document today, but it basically says arming crews "may lead" to increased problems. No studies. No analysis. Just anti-gun prejudice. (Hey, its the UN, what do you expect? Take a look at the statue that graces the UN complex in NY City. ** clickity **)
Now the Internation Maritime Organization is a perfect example of the UN trying to run over and get in front of the parade. All the heavy lifting relative to piracy is handled by the International Chamber of Commerce under its International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center. The IMO may do other things, but relative to piracy of commercial shipping, IMB/PRC is in the driver's seat.
And of course no one is dealing with the issue of attacks on small boats. The ICC is interested in shipping. (And the UN is just along for the ride.) Well, Noonsite worries about small vessels and piracy - that is they post reports from various folks running into problems.