What shipping barons could learn from a 16 year old about pirates

The LA Times reports that 16 year old Zac Sunderland, who is currently attempting to sail around the world alone, came across a suspicious ship while on his way to the Cocos Islands. What did he do? After calling his parents on the sat phone he pulled out a gun.

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Why security firms are not being contracted to protect shipping in Somalia with arms, I will never know. The Somali government is in talks with a French private security contractor after negotiations failed with a shady US firm but if I were insuring these ships I would demand armed personal onboard or an armed escort.

Thanks to Charlie for the link.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Joe

    The reasons private security firms are not contracted more often for this area are one, they are extremely expensive and two, they are considered private individuals and therefore subject to the laws of whatever country’s waters they are sailing through. Police forces and militarizes have more immunity but there is the whole political angle that gets involved there.

  • I’d read somewhere that many ports won’t allow ships to dock if there are arms onboard. I don’t know if that’s true but I know that kid can get arrested in places like Mexico or Europe if they catch him.

    If I were to sail round the world I’d be armed too, but I’m not sure the corporations that ran the cargo ships could stay afloat if they were having civilians carrying arms in places where that’s illegal. One more reason to get the UN and their arms control policies out of our affairs.

  • jdun

    Right now there are over two hundred seamen/women that are held captive by Somalia’s pirates. It doesn’t take much to train crew in the use of firearm and equip them with body armor.

    It does take some effort to get port government to allow cargo ships that are armed but not impossible.

    Pirates are everywhere and not just located in Africa. More needs to be done and a good start is to arm the crew.

  • Jcamelo

    Lol jdun said seamen!!! No but seriously if I were sailing alone I would want to take a pistol. Probably a PPK or some other low calibre gun but that is just my opinion. Plus UN and Mexican shipping laws are pretty tight.
    Somalian pirates are especially dangerous when shipping. While they may not be trained and may not have even used lethal force in their entire life they are heavily armed and they know the waters they sail. It is their turf.