Fighting maritime piracy has continually been a debate in the maritime industry and pirates seem to have an advantage as international regulations forbids commercial vessels to be armed with guns and hence ships and shipping lines have used different techniques and measures to outwit pirates.
An obvious evasive measure is to avoid sailing through pirate prone zones by entirely changing the sea route of vessels which may usually mean considering longer routes. For instance attempting to avoid Somalia pirates could force an Asia-West Africa bound vessel to opt for the “Cape of good hope” (tip of South Africa) instead of sailing around the “Horn of Africa” which is shorter.
Some of the following measures has helped foiled some pirate attacks by delaying the attack as much as possible for potential help to arrive. Remember that delaying an attack is very crucial in evading pirates as experts mention that pirates would usually allow 30 to 45 minutes for boarding a vessel and are likely to give up if boarding proves difficult after such a time.
This device is designed to send strong sonic waves to a directed target creating a very powerful sound. The sound created is powerful enough to shock pirates causing them to be disoriented and give up on the act. An example is the Long Range Acoustic Device LRAD which is a non-lethal anti piracy weapon designed to create an unbearable wall of noise far beyond the normal noise level an average human can take.
- Water cannons and hose
This is another method used to outwit pirates, special devices are fitted at vantage points on the vessel and a high force of water is pumped out to attack potential pirates, the force of the water is so strong that it could prevent pirates from boarding a vessel. The fire hose of vessels can also be used to pump this water. Another system that’s makes use of the water is fitting special hoses at the starboard and port side of vessels, sea water is then pumped at a high pressure through this hoses which in turn forms a sort of curtain around the whole ship to prevent pirates from boarding.
- Barbed wire and dummies
Some ships use electric barbed wires to serve as a fence around the whole ship to prevent pirates from boarding. Other vessels have learnt to use dummies in the form of armed guards placed on the bridge and vantage points to simulate armed look outs, hoping to send signals to pirates that there is an armed guard on board.
- Triton Shield Anti-Piracy System
This is a system designed to detect, deter and defend against piracy on the sea by using specialized cameras to determine the difference between a fishing boat and a pirate craft, day or night. The defense system further discharges a wall of water around the ship with a very stinky and foul smell that makes it very difficult for pirates to board the ship.
- Armed Escorts
Some vessels acquire the services of armed ex-service personnel or special security forces to provide escorts through pirate prone zones. Even though this might be expensive it is a more secured evasive measure. Experts however argue that the presence of armed men on board could encourage pirates to attack with more violence.
To effectively evade pirates, it is important to spot attackers from afar and begin to implement evasive measures. Pirates love to attack on the element of surprise so spotting them ahead of time could help with counter piracy measures. International organizations in an attempt to further reduce attacks have advised vessels to sail clear of coastal towns (about 600 nautical miles off), drill crew in simulated attacks make good use of distress calls and increase speed where necessary.
In the nutshell, it’s better to prevents pirates from boarding a vessel rather than forcing them off the vessel once they come aboard.
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