Like many, I closely followed the recent pirate seizure of the Maersk ship with the American crew and was happy when the captain was free by the U.S. Navy. I wondered how a tiny boat with four pirates could board and overtake a huge ocean container ship.
Then I read about how the pirates threw grappling hooks and climbed ropes to board the ship. Such a low tech method for causing so much chaos (and having guns help too). But guns are worthless if the pirates can’t board the ship.
Many pundits have called for arming the commercial vessels. I thought, Lean Thinkers, would ponder “how do we prevent the pirates from getting on board in the first place?”
Then I stumbled across this article that stated, from a U.S. military commander:
He said that in addition to armed guards, companies could deploy more passive measures, like barbed wire around the lower parts of the ship.
Barbed wire? Brilliant! Keep them from gaining access to the boat. That might not fix the ultimate root cause, but it sounds better than getting into shootouts with armed pirates each time.
And, best of all, the barbed wire has worked:
‘Just last week, two vessels were unsuccessfully attacked because the ship had put barbed wire around the ship on the closest avenues of approach,’ he said.
And the BBC reported:
An Israeli cargo ship came under fire from pirates en route to Kenya on Saturday but was apparently saved by coils of barbed wire hung around the hull to repel boarders.
What a cheap, effective solution. Why doesn’t every ship employ this method immediately?
This is “everyday lean” only off the coast of Somalia, apparently. Will the pirates come up with a workaround for the barbed wire??
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