Britney Spears: Somali Pirates Kept at Bay by Blaring Singer's Tunes

Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 10:04 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Merchant Navy officers have discovered that blaring Britney Spears songs is an effective deterrent for keeping Somali pirates from attacking their ships.

The high-decibel screeching from such Spears hits as "Oops I Did It Again" and "Hit Me Baby One More Time" has kept Somali pirates from boarding her vessel six or seven times, officer Rachel Owens claims.

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"The reason why pop songs are very good is because they have a lot of high-pitched noises and bass notes, which are particularly painful when they’re played at ridiculously high volumes," Owens told ABC News. "[But] it’s completely directional. You can stand next to the noise cannon and you can hear it, but it’s not painful. But if you stand in front of it at a close range, it would rupture your ear drums."

Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) defense systems have been in use for a while, according to The Atlantic. LRADs blast walls of sound, which can literally bring people to their knees and have been used to stop riots in the past.

"The LRAD is capable of generating sounds of up to 162dB, which is higher than the human threshold of pain (without ear defenders) which is generally regarded as around 130 dB," Steven Jones, maritime director at the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, told ABC News. "Rather than Britney actually making them break off their attack, it could be they are instead going to seek a softer, unprotected target, one which may not be so vigilant and protected."

According to the New York Times, 3,863 seafarers were attacked by Somali pirates in 2011, though that number dropped to 851 in 2012.

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