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Military Policy & Weapons/Could mercenaries have warships?


Assuming Blackater's revenue and profits saw an immense growth enough for them to buy themselves warships, would it be legal to them to operate actual warships, or would governments intervene in that business?

Like say they wanted to acquire a decommissioned Wasp class for contracts that require them to commit an amphibious assault.


The following thread offers some useful insights on this matter:

"It depends on the maritime laws of the flag state and whether the ship is in international or national waters at the time of the incident. Hence the answer is highly variable depending on the exactly which marine treaties the flag state has signed and ratified."

"The nearest response legally speaking of legitimate commercial enterprises acting in an armed manner (ie: guns on ships) would be closest resembling the Commerce Raiders of the latest world wars. The trading companies prior to the 18th Century were armed because of the laws relating to imperial networks, such as the British East India Trading Company having a royal charter, and therefore the authority to use military and naval force in Imperial Territories under its jurisdiction, with the added bonus of being able to fend of pirates and privateers. That was 200 years ago. Things are vastly different now. The most recent armed vessels remotely resembling armed merchant vessels or privateers were the commerce raiders employed most recently in WWII. These vessels, however, were commissioned by the nation of origin as naval vessels, and subject to the codes such forces abide by. As such, lack of legal precedence is only due to a lack of court cases relating to such actions in the modern age. The cases relating to piracy have regarded individuals, not whole ships or companies and their fitting out (what they carry onboard), at least since the Nuremburg Trials post WWII.

Furthermore, weapons such as large cannon and torpedoes are virtually useless against vessels such as the skiffs, small fishing vessels and fast motor vessels most commonly used by pirates these days. The torpedo runs too deep to detonate under such a small hull, and a cannon would have a hard time aiming, even with modern electronic and mechanical stabilizers. The best weapons are small arms (such as the Browning 9mm pistol, AK-47, etc.) up to heavy machine guns (such as a Browning 12.5mm/.50 cal machine gun), as these are much more manouverable and fire more effectively at closer distances (you would only ever engage pirates at only a few hundred yards distance, as that is when their intention would become definitively known)."

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James Bruno


Diplomacy and foreign affairs. How government decision-making takes place. Interactions of the White House, State Dept., Pentagon, Congress and CIA in formulating policy. How governments deal with each other. Area expertise includes Afghanistan, Indochina, Europe, Cuba. Served in Guantanamo. Currently a member of the Diplomatic Readiness Reserve and Standby Response Corps.


23-years as a diplomat with the U.S. State Dept. Previously at the Defense Dept. Prior to joining government, worked as a journalist with major news organizations.

CBS-News, UPI; various newspapers. Bestselling novelist: TRIBE, PERMANENT INTERESTS and CHASM.

M.A. - U.S. Naval War College
M.A. - Columbia Univ.
B.A. - George Washington Univ.

Awards and Honors
Various in government.

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