In its fight against piracy on the high seas, the U.S Navy is now employing some pretty radical scare tactics to dissuade pirates.
Captains on ships have found that blaring Britney Spears tracks loudly, is very off-putting for the pirates, who are often from the Muslim country of Somalia.
Oops! I Did it Again and Baby One More Time are two of the favorite tracks blasted by ship captains who want to avoid having the Somalian pirates board their ships.
Second Officer Owens, a worker on one such ship off the east coast of Africa, said that they choose Britney Spears’ songs as she is particularly unpopular with the pirates:
“Her songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them most. These guys can’t stand Western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect,” he said.
The pirates often board ships and kidnap passengers in order to gain large ransoms. One such case, back in 2009, saw a 17,000 ton ship boarded by pirates en route from Oman to Mombassa.
All 20 of the crew members on board were taken as hostages before being ransomed. In 2011, a massive 176 attacks were reported to have taken place on ships near to the Horn of Africa.
Ms Owens, who works guiding tankers through the hazardous waters said that the ship’s speakers can be directed at the pirates, no matter how they approach the ship:
“It’s so effective the ship’s security rarely needs to resort to firing guns. As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can.”
Steven Jones, from the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, said to reporters: “Pirates will go to any lengths to avoid or try to overcome the music. I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention,” he quipped.
One would assume that the tough Somalian pirates are unfazed by anything as they violently overtake vessels at sea and make money through piracy.
Who would have thought that a few songs from the much loved pop singer Britney Spears would be such an effective tool in the fight against piracy?