Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Update on the Somali Pirates

According to today’s edition of The South African Star,
    Pirate smiled as he fired bazooka at cruise liner
Mahe, Seychelles - A World War 2 veteran wielding a camera found himself facing a smiling attacker armed with a grenade launcher. Another holidaymaker escaped injury because she was taking a bath, and not in the ship’s stateroom where an explosive landed.
Passengers of the Seabourn Spirit yesterday described moments of panic and luck after docking in the Seychelles after pirates in speedboats chased their luxury cruise liner at sea.
Yesterday, a day after the attack off the coast of Somalia, a maritime watchdog report warned of an increased risk of violent hijackings off Somalia, where the number shot up from one last year to 19 between January and September this year.
The British-based International Maritime Bureau said the number of pirate attacks worldwide in the first nine months of the year fell to 205 - their lowest level in six years. This was an 18% drop from the 251 cases in the same period last year.
According to Charles Forsdick, a Durban passenger on the Seabourn Spirit, some holidaymakers were lucky to escape with their lives in the weekend attack.
“It was a very frightening experience,” Charles Supple, of Fiddletown, California, recalled.
The retired physician and World War 2 veteran said he started to take a photograph of a pirate craft, and “the man with the bazooka aimed it right at me and I saw a big flash”.
“Needless to say, I dropped the camera and dived. The grenade struck two decks above and about four rooms further forward,” Supple said.
“I could tell that the guy firing the bazooka was smiling.”
The gunmen never got close enough to board the cruise ship, but one member of the 161-person crew was injured by shrapnel, according to the Seabourn Cruise Line.
Readers should be aware that what witnesses were calling a “bazooka” was most likely an RPG launcher.

But the most interesting part of the article is this:
     Captain Sven Erik Pederson fired a sonic weapon at the pirates. The acoustic weapon, developed by the US Navy, projects a blast of air strong enough to knock a man off his feet. The blast kept the attackers at bay long enough for the liner to reach full speed and change course.
Wouldn’t you like to have one of those?

I invite the experts on military weapons among our readers to comment with more details about these “sonic weapons.”


Papa Ray said...

This is the only device I know of that fits the description (except it does not fire a "blast of air" as such.)

Long Range Sonic Device

Papa Ray
West Texas

Papa Ray said...

Here is a better description with some pics.

Papa Ray

Baron Bodissey said...

Boy, you guys are great with the links!

Did you notice that the wiki article had already included the Somali pirate story?

Dymphna said...


Baron, I want one for Christmas.


Scott said...

These guys are down the street from me. Woody Norris is the CEO and he is a genius. I don't know if it was developed as a weapon or a commercial product but I know that there are variations for both. Imagine walking next to a coke machine and hearing the jingle as you walk by but nowhere else. A few years ago, they were testing this on unsuspecting shoppers at a local strip mall. It's neat stuff. Kind of like a beam forming antenna in audio.

Unknown said...

The captain was also quoted in today's National Post as saying he heard a distress call as the Seabourn Spirit left the scene at full speed. The distress call seemingly came from another ship being attacked. The captain ignored the call because he was certain it was from the pirate's mother ship located not far away and it was a ruse.

I always thought it strange the pirates (or terrorists) could operate so far away from shore in small craft - I only heard yesterday the Spirit was 160 km. (100 miles) off shore. Now I know why. There was a report of a rusted old ship out there - likely using radar to locate the passing ships. Anyone got a submarine in the area for a bit of target practice?

Thomas von der Trave said...

Holy Loudspeaker, Batman!

Maybe out of solidarity (with a bit of Schadenfreude mixed in) we could offer several dozen of these babies to the French for crowd control?