In the maritime equivalent of airline pilots’ protecting themselves with firearms in the cockpit, a judge has allowed a sea captain to carry a gun while guiding ships along the New Jersey coast, says the Newark Star-Ledger. Capt. Salvatore Atanasio Jr. guides large cruise ships that carry up to 600 passengers along the New Jersey coast and New York harbor. Superior Court Judge John Pursel, citing terrorism concerns and Atanasio’s extensive background as a ship master, granted the captain a restricted permit. “Large sea vessels, as airplanes, are vulnerable to random attacks by terrorists,” Pursel said. “A vessel’s bridge is no different than an airplane cockpit and is particularly vulnerable to attack by lawless citizens or terrorists.”
The Warren County Prosecutor’s Office opposed Atanasio’s permit request, saying he failed to show “urgent necessity.” Pursel countered that the appropriate standard was “justifiable need,” and that Atanasio, a highly trained master of vessels of up to 1,600 tons, proved his case.