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June 27, 2006

How to deter piracy off the the African coast


On November 5, 2005 the luxury cruise liner Seabourn Spirit was attacked off the southern coast of Somalia by pirates, deployed a long-range acoustic device (LRAD — above) against the threat and successfully avoided being ransacked and possibly hijacked.

Here's the November 8, 2005 New York Times story about the attack.

    Somalia: Liner Docks After Pirate Attack

    A cruise liner that was chased and attacked by pirates off Somalia on Saturday docked safely in the Seychelles, in the western Indian Ocean. Passengers described their horror as pirates in speedboats chased the liner, the Seabourn Spirit, firing rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons for 90 minutes. ''I was very scared,'' said Jean Noll of Florida. Charles Supple of California said he had tried to take a photograph. ''The man with the bazooka aimed it right at me,'' he said. ''Needless to say, I dropped the camera and dived.'' No gunmen boarded the ship, but a crew member was injured by shrapnel, according to the Miami-based Seabourn Cruise Line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation. The liner, with 151 passengers, mainly from the United States, Europe and Australia, had been at the end of a 16-day voyage from Alexandria, Egypt.

It was not an isolated event: here's a November 12 New York Times story about other attacks in the area.

    Somalia: Pirates Attack More Ships

    Somali pirates chased and attacked five ships in the last week in a sharp rise of banditry apparently directed from a ''mother ship'' prowling the busy Indian Ocean corridor and launching the speedboats much farther off the coast, the International Maritime Bureau said. Four vessels escaped, including the cruise ship Seabourn Spirit, which was carrying 151 Western tourists, but a Thai cargo ship was commandeered, bringing to seven the number of vessels now being held captive with their crews by the pirates, the bureau said.

LRAD technology has military applications but certainly appears to offer promise in the civilian space as well.

Many cruise ships now carry directable sonic weapons of this nature as part of their security armamentarium.

From the American Technology Corporation website:

    LRAD — The Sound of Force Protection®

    The Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) is a breakthrough long-range hailing and warning device designed to communicate with authority, affect behavior and determine intent.

    It has the unique ability of providing amazing voice and tone clarity in a 15°-30°beam at distances over 300 meters using only two amps of power.

    As a method for safely addressing the difficult missions of waterside force protection against small boats, crowd control, area denial of personnel, clearing buildings and visit board search and seizure operations, LRAD puts distance between a potential threat and troops to save lives on both sides of the device.

    LRAD can also be configured to provide live, continuously recorded video and audio from a remotely controlled ruggedized pan, tilt and zoom mount for high value infrastructure "first responder" capability.

[via Jonathan Margolis and the Financial Times]

June 27, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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I can confirm the Long Range Acoustic Device LRAD has been in use for years now among other issues to avoid maritime piracy.

It is a great tool as one can communicate to the counterpart in several hundreds meter distance. Thereby it helps to avoid dangers situations.

LRAD is typically used for Maritime and offshore Security, Military Psyops, Police Riot Control and demonstrations.

Have a look at this LRAD video presentation to understand the product and what it can do LRAD - Long Range Acoustic Device - http://www.phodio.net/index.php?page=lrad_long_range_acoustic_device_eng.html

Posted by: Phodio Ltd | Jul 30, 2006 2:01:50 PM

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