Yep, this exists, along with Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 11 of the US Constitution. I thought this was pretty cool, because we definitely have laws on the books for getting private industry involved with the suppression of piracy.
I also liked these laws, because they defined captures. That the US can authorize private industry for capture of pirates. This is important to note, because at this time, there is only a Defense Industry in place for the suppression of piracy. Meaning, companies are only providing guards to defend vessels with the possible use of force. No one has the authority to arrest or capture pirates. So basically we have a system in place that only allows for the ‘killing’ of pirates in the course of the defense, but god help us if private industry actually arrested folks?
By arresting pirates, we can find out information about pirate operations and we can keep these thugs out of the business of piracy by letting them rot in a prison. It would also give companies some authority for when pirates surrender. An effective Offense Industry could profit from the capture (or killing if pirates fail to surrender and become violent), and thus removing those threats from the seas. I should also note that the US congress used to pay privateers for the capture of British sailors and seamen during the War of 1812 using a bounty system. In other words, companies must be compensated if you want them to actually arrest and detain pirates. Without incentive and and well defined legal authority, ship owners and security guards on these boats will want nothing to do with capturing anyone.
Or we can continue to promote this current Defense Industry where companies either kill or wound pirates in fire fights and then allow pirates to escape–so they can go attack some other vessel. Hell, why would companies be compelled to kill pirates in the first place with such a system? Killing pirates or arresting them, would eliminate the sweet deal ‘Defense Industry’ we have that benefits from having active pirates. Something to think about when talking about when dealing with today’s piracy issues. –Matt