Do Armed Guards Have a Licence to Kill?


The question arises: “May a guard contracted to an owner kill a pirate?” The short but accurate answer is “of course”.

The consequences of the act are not short — it may stop the parade for the killer and those around him. The master holds the warrant of the sovereign to enforce its laws on the vessel. He or she is the only person holding a warrant unlimited in scope within the laws of the flag state.Other persons — officers — hold warrants, but their warrants are limited by the laws of the state.

The owner registers his ship with the flag state, which requires a master on board acceptable to it and its laws. No master means no sailing.

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