Piracy and arming crews
General Petraeus has proposed arming merchantmen. The main resistance seems to be coming from the ship owners, who'd rather pay ransom than risk ... whatever they fear. "Joe Cox, president of the Chamber of Shipping of America, cautioned that deploying armed guards aboard cargo ships could escalate violence if pirates expect a gunfight."
What might change the dynamic: via reader Don Hamrick comes the link to lawsuit filed by Richard Hicks, against the Maersk Line. He was injured in the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, and charges that the ship's owner exposed the crew to piracy without providing security. In a regular court, that'd probably fail, since one person is not ordinarily responsible for prevent someone else's illegal acts, but the complaint alleges that maritime law places certain duties on the ship owner.
UPDATE: Yes, the amount named may have an importance, but I'm hard put to see what it is. $75,000 is the minimum for a federal suit in diversity jurisdiction, i.e., one that gets to federal court because the parties are citizens of different States. But this case is filed in State court. And I think that maritime law would be a federal question, which can get you into federal court regardless of the amount. Pleading over $75K in State court, against parties who are probably diverse, is just begging for removal into federal court (in which event why not file there to begin with?)