As raids by Somali pirates cause havoc and send fear rippling throughout the shipping industry, mariners have been forced to break out the ultimate weapon: Britney Spears.
With over 200 documented attacks by pirates in 2018, an increasing number of resources is being devoted to keeping the shipping lines off the coast of Africa safe. In 2009, the United States launched an international naval mission — Task Force 151 — to fend off pirates along the busy sea lanes off the Horn of Africa. The European Union and NATO each set up counterpiracy flotillas. China, Russia, and India sent warships in their own separate efforts. The United Kingdom has 1,500 sailors on 14 warships, offering round-the-clock patrols.
Even with state-of-the-art military protection, pirate raids continue. Approaching desperation, captains of threatened vehicles have resorted to something even more horrifying than torpedoes or cannons: Britney Spears.
As it turns out, blasting Britney Spears music in the direction of approaching marauders is quite the effective deterrent. Merchant navy officer Rachel Owens, who works on supertankers off the east coast of Africa, said, “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.”
Always mindful of the danger of friendly fire, the ships’ speakers can be aimed at the pirates, leaving the passengers and crew undisturbed. “It’s so effective the ship’s security rarely needs to resort to firing guns,” said Owens. “As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can.”
Even in the battle against pirates, there are certain rules of warfare that must be observed. Steven Jones, of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, said, “I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention.”
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