You are thinking and feeling exactly the same as many of us. Regrettably, International Law and RoE dictate otherwise. I suspect that Nelson would have had his own solution but he didn't have itchy fingered twonks with mobile telephone cameras.
:roll: No, they'd be looking at some serious consequences for themselves, the Service and the UK. Killing pirates when returning their fire is a good result but there are rules about killing unarmed men in warfare let alone mere constabulary operations.
Those pesky Rules of Engagement, depriving the booties and RFA gunners of the opportunity to kill in cold blood. Bloke surrenders and is disarmed, he's entitled not to be shot, even if he is a scrote. In some circumstances, executed following a trial is all well and good.
Somali pirates are maritime muggers and kidnappers. In recent operations it may be that naval forces have killed more of the pirates captives than the pirates have.
Seadog . I think we agree that the Rules are there for good reason; even if they can occasionally be a pain in the bum. The thought that the commander at sea had more freedom of action than he actually has is rather apealing, though.
The moral high ground can be a very lonely and anguished place. It is our lot, though.
Mission Command doesn't and didn't extend to being judge, jury and executioner. There is something of a myth about how the Navy used to deal with pirates, hanged from the yardarm on the orders of the CO of a warship moments after capture etc.
Pirates were tried in Admiralty Courts, in London or in the Colonies. Captain Kidd was hanged in London. Pirates back in the good old days of weavils, 500 men messes and eleven year deployments were a more murdrous bunch than the current Somali menace. Some were ex RN.