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pirates and the fury of sound?

November 18, 2009

The Washington Post is reporting that the Maersk Alabama, a shipping vessel that was hijacked earlier this year, was the subject of another attempted hijacking off the Somali coast:

Pirates hijacked the Maersk Alabama last April and took ship captain Richard Phillips hostage, holding him at gunpoint in a lifeboat for five days. Navy SEAL sharpshooters freed Phillips while killing three pirates in a daring nighttime attack.  Four suspected pirates in a skiff attacked the ship again on Tuesday around 6:30 a.m. local time, firing on the ship with automatic weapons from about 300 yards (meters) away, a statement from the U.S. Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said.

Were the pirates firing wildly?  A quick search suggests the AK-47 rapidly becomes inaccurate at 300-400 meters, especially if the pirates are in a skiff out in the open sea, and not, say, lying prone at a shooting range.

Also, this caught my eye:

An on-board security team repelled the attack by using evasive maneuvers, small-arms fire and a Long Range Acoustic Device, which can beam earsplitting alarm tones, the fleet said.

I wasn’t familiar with the Long Range Acoustic Device’s (LRAD) utility on the high seas, (as the only time I’ve heard about it in when the device was deployed in Pittsburgh earlier this year) but evidently it has been utilized for some time against Somali pirates.

The American Technology Corp (ATC) who produces the LRAD must be cleaning up on all this publicity.

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