© Khunaspix Dreamstime.

The use of armed guards on ships transiting the pirate-infested waters off the Indian Ocean has increased markedly over the last year, and you can see why: not a single attempted hijacking on a vessel with someone shooting back has been successful. And it’s cheap – armed guards cost around a quarter of the fuel bill that would come with speeding up cargo ships to outrun the pirates. But it’s not without controversy – a remarkable video attached to this article shows a Hollywood-style shoot-out between ex-military security personnel and a Somali skiff, while the concepts of “appropriate use of force” and “warning shots” appear to have been forgotten.