Fighting Pirates with Science

Piracy is a serious problem in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. While NATO, Russian, Iranian, and Chinese ships all escort merchant vessels through the Gulf of Aden, foreign militaries can’t be everywhere at once. Ships traveling through dangerous waters often need to create their own improvised anti-pirate defenses … and the market for these products is booming. A variety of arms contractors and boutique manufacturers are producing everything from “stinky water” walls to high-powered water cannons to deter murderous Somali pirates

One firm, the International Maritime Security Network, markets an expensive defense package called the “Triton Shield Anti-Piracy System.” The integrated product, which includes everything from on-ship security guards to a specialized camera system, also creates a wall of very stinky water. Bloomberg’s Julie Bykowicz uncovered an impenetrable wall of stinky, foul-smelling water that can be deployed by Triton against potential pirate skiffs. International Maritime Security’s Ralph Pundt described the smell as that of “a skunk on steroids.”

Lasers can also be used to defend against pirates. Earlier this year, British defense contractor BAE Systems announced the successful deployment of its prototype anti-pirate laser. BAE’s Laser Distraction system uses a special eye-safe laser that can either provide a visual warning to pirates at distances greater than two kilometers or temporarily disorient attackers at closer distances. Ships can either deploy………[read full article]

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