The report says that the US stars are being blasted through speakers aimed toward any approaching Somali raiders — and they work. Chart-toppers such as “Baby One More Time” and Oops! I Did It Again” are particularly effective.
Rachel Owens, a merchant navy officer who works on supertankers off the east coast of Africa, revealed the ships’ secret weapons, explaining that the music is perfect for keeping the deadly pirates at bay.
Pirate attacks in the region are frequent, and sometimes deadly. There were 176 attacks on ships off the Horn of Africa in 2011, 25 of them successful. Somali pirates often attack ships and sometimes take their occupants captive, demanding multi-million dollar ransoms.
In response to the pirate threat, the Royal Navy has 1,500 sailors stationed on 14 warships patrolling the area. E! Online notes that Owens explained, “[Britney Spears’] 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.”
Owens added, “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.”
The music is apparently a second-resort for the ships, which first use calls from armed security guards on board. If that fails, well, turn on Britney Spears. Steven Jones, of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, explained that the tactic was first used by US police and military to stop rioters. He joked of the use of Britney, “I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention.”
If you aren’t sure why Britney Spears’ songs could scare off Somali pirates, allow us to refresh your memory below.