Gun battle at sea captured in viral video

Screenshot from YouTube.

A new video shows a private security team on board a cargo ship successfully fending off what appears to be Somali pirates in a tense gun battle at sea.

The footage published Thursday on YouTube is taken aboard the cargo vessel. In the video, a small boat can be seen approaching. Armed with weapons, private security officers begin firing at the ship. They first fire warning shots following the captain’s order, and then the real gunfight begins.

According to Humans At Sea, the pirates fired shots first in an attempt to board and hijack the ship, but due to the distance between the two vessels, the shots cannot be heard in the video.

The video has already received more than 2,700,000 views in less than 24 hours on YouTube.

This shocking footage comes at a time when it appears piracy is proving to still be a problem on open waters.

At the beginning of the month, a cargo ship was reportedly hijacked off the coast of Somalia, the fourth boat to be overtaken this year. The first hijacking of the year involved an oil tanker that was seized by pirates in March, according to Foreign Policy. The Maritime Executive reports that this year’s hijackings mark the end of a five-year respite for seafarers having to worry about piracy in the Indian Ocean.

“Private security teams have proven successful in preventing pirates from taking hostages, but they are not the only resources available to shipowners,” Joe Allen, chief executive officer of private security firm Six Maritime, told Forbes in 2013.

Some argue private security on board commercial vessels has deterred piracy in the past, but others argue there needs to be better communication between armed vessels and military boats in the region to improve the defence of ships.

“We have highly trained, combat proven, veterans providing armed security for our clients’ assets, but the first order of business when our teams board a client vessel isn’t to set up how they are going to fire their weapons at attacking pirates,” Allen said. “The first thing they set about doing is making sure the emergency communications procedures are ready so the ship is able to utilize all the resources available to it.”

So pirates beware: some ships at sea are protected by armed security personnel, and they’re ready to call on the military if they need some back up.