The Daily Mirror reports that merchant sea captains who sail off the coast of Africa repeatedly deal with pirate attacks and have found solace in the most unlikely of weapons: Britney Spears' early catalog.
The effects of the music are witnessed almost instantly. As Somali raiders armed with assault rifles approach a merchant ship, the crew blasts "... Baby One More Time" or "Oops! I Did It Again."
Rachel Owens, a 34-year-old merchant navy officer from Aberfoyle, Scotland who works on valuable supertankers that travel around the horn of Africa, said Britney Spears music seems to be the most effective method yet of deterring pirates.
"Her songs have been chosen by the security team accompanying our tankers because they thought the pirates would hate them most," she said. "These guys can’t stand Western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect."
The security staff simply points the speakers at the pirates, cranks the volume, and presses play. "They’re 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," Rachel said.
Because of the proximity of important maritime commerce routes around the Horn of Africa relevant to Somalia, pirates often target huge tankers to try and ransom both the crew and the cargo for amounts in the £multi-million range. 2011 saw 176 attacks by pirates on ships travelling around the Horn of Africa, but only 25 of those attacks resulted in any kidnapping.
The Somali pirate armada has reached such a threat level that the Royal Navy has reportedly dispatched 1500 sailors aboard 14 warships to patrol the area around-the-clock.
Steven Jones, an official from the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, noted that the U.S. police and military were the first to use music as a way to calm a situation down, and that the adoption of the tactic by cruise ships and merchant vessels seems effective. "I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention," he joked.[Image via BritneySpears.com]