Skip to comments.Cruise ship used high-tech noise gun on attacking pirates
Posted on 11/08/2005 6:10:31 PM PST by neverdem
MIAMI The crew of a luxury cruise ship used a sonic weapon that blasts earsplitting noise in a directed beam while being attacked by a gang of pirates off the eastern coast of Africa, the cruise line says.
The Seabourn Spirit had a Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, installed as a part of its defense systems, said Bruce Good, a spokesman for Miami-based Seabourn Cruise Line. The Spirit was about 100 miles off the coast of Somalia when pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns as they tried to get onboard.
The subsidiary of Carnival Corp. was investigating whether the weapon was successful in warding off the pirates, he said. The ship's captain also changed its course, shifted into high speed and headed out into the open sea to elude the pirates, who were in two small boats, he said. He had no further details.
Device maker American Technology Corp. said earsplitting "bangs" were directed by trained security personnel toward the pirates. That, combined with ship maneuvers, caused the attackers to leave the area, the company said.
The LRAD is a so-called "non-lethal weapon" developed for the U.S. military after the deadly 2000 attack on the USS Cole off Yemen as a way to keep operators of small boats from approaching U.S. warships.
The military version is a 45-pound, dish-shaped device that can direct a high-pitched, piercing tone with a tight beam. Neither the LRAD's operators or others in the immediate area are affected.
American Technology, based in San Diego, compares its shrill tone to that of smoke detectors, only much louder. It can be as loud as about 150 decibels, while smoke alarms are about 80 to 90 decibels.
The devices have been deployed on commercial and naval vessels worldwide since summer 2003, the company said.
That kind of sound could peel paint!
I'd be worried if pirates get their hands on earplug technology, though. We must stop earplug proliferation in order to keep these weapons effective.
If they got close enough to fire 2 RPGs, sounds like it it was a failure.
I recommend a face full of browning 50 cal. next time to gently discourage these folks from boarding your ship and hacking everyone to pieces.
I hear an optional upgrade includes the Howard Dean yyyyeeehhaawwww!
Yes, ma deuce is a tad loud.
I have always held the belief that civilians have no need for large weapons, cannons, RPGs or 50 cal submachine guns until I read this story.
If I was traveling on the seas, I think a 50cal and perhaps a small cannon would be appropriate and necessary.
Yep, now that they've told the world they have these "weapons" they've pretty much rendered them useless.
A good set of earplugs that cost 25 cents will make it completely ineffective.
I'm proud of ya.
First thing I thought was check for the stock price, too.
The .50 cal is also a sonic weapon, albeit with a little more punch.
Yea, a "fiddy" cal would work wonders ... but get that on a cruise ship! I could stick it down MY pants, but could you? :)
A "good set of earplugs" reduces noise level by about 30dB.
120dB is still quite a painful sound to deal with, and simple earplugs aren't that helpful. In addition, the sound frequency that is being used may not be reduced as much by simple earplugs... From one of MANY web sites I could cite:
"From 90dB to 120dB, the deafness and pain may be temporary. However, ringing in the ears or tinnitus may persist and be a sign that damage has been done. Above 120dB, injury is very likely indeed. As a guide, normal conversation is about 50dB to 60dB, what the brain perceives as loud music is about 100dB, a pneumatic drill at 1m (3.2ft) is about 120dB and a jet engine at 30 metres (98.4ft) is about 130dB."
Actually at that level I really doubt that just ear plugs will do the job, but not willing to find out if I am wrong....
Filling their bodies full of 50 BMG holes still trumps ANY noise weapon.
how about some M-60 and M-16's in the ship armory ,which is located near the bridge for security and good fields of fire?
As a tourist I would not want to go on an unarmed cruise ship these days .
"Device maker American Technology Corp. said earsplitting "bangs" were directed by trained security personnel toward the pirates."
These weapons should not be aloud. Harmful to dolphins and whales. :)
Disney should send one of their cruise ships into the Indian Ocean with machine guns hidden on it and advertise the adventure as "Pirates of Somalia Cruise" passengers could dress up as Mickie Mouse and take pot shots at the pirates that attack.
Wouldn't getting "hit" with the sound waves cause physical discomfort or even tissue damage?
I'd guess that would create loud noises that the bad guys might find "uncomfortable."
I think a cruise ship will wind up being the next 9-11. Think about it, its so easy and a good test case was already done when they bombed the USS Cole.
Imagine two fishing trawlers, one with 5K kilo's of explosives and the other with gunmen. They can leave from any port in the world and travel unchalleneged to their target. Bomb boat explodes, mega cruise ship sinks in less that 15 minutes, gunmen with AK's to clean up everyone else. Total atackers less then 19 men and a death toll of many thousand, well eclipsing 9-11.
The sound generator and even heavy weapons wouldn't do you much good since you would probably not understand whats going on until its too late, and we cant have a destoyer follow every cruiseship wherever it goes.
Like the Q-Boats, eh?
Wasn't the Mk19 automatic 40-mm grendade launcher originally developed by the US Navy?
And earplugs covered by earmuffs... even more protection.
Interesting. I hope the FBI, etc. are considering that possibility.
And if they send the same guys back, who are now deaf, they won't need any ear plugs at all.
That kind of sound could peel paint!
The only thing I can say about that is that is should have been 250 decibals.
Make their ears bleed.
But as ship as big as that one should probably have something even larger. A couple of single barrel 20mm cannon would surely discourage the snot right out of 'em. They were common secondary and anti-aircraft armament on torpedo boats, submarines, and other light vessels. Heck something that big could mount a 4 or 5 inch deck gun. Liberty mounted at least one, and more often two, a 3 inch forward and 5 inch aft, along with 10 or so 20 mm cannon, and they were much smaller than a modern cruise ship.
My uncle was Naval Armed Guard on the SS William Clark, Torpedoed and sunk by U.354 in Greenland Sea at approx.71.05N 13.10E on 4 Nov 42.)
Uncle Lennie survived the War, but some of his toes did not. (Frostbite, it's dang cold in the Greenland sea in November.)
Concur, but I think they have problems with lifeboat drills, much less GUNNERS, man your battle stations.
Well, probably not. For one thing earplugs only give you 10-15 dB of suppression, so that 150 dB "warning" mode is reduced to 135 to 140 dB. For another sound levels like 150 dB are felt as much as heard, depending on the frequency. Scramble your insides they might.
Still I'd prefer a nice 20 mm Gatling, or for a ship as big as a those cruise ships, maybe a 30 mm similar to the GAU-8 carried by the A-10. Private yachts and the like should carry a pair of Ma Dueces, if not maybe more. Clearly though, even the 20 mm, even in a single barrel automatic would be plenty for boats such as the one shown, and some quite a bit larger as well.
Disagree. Those ships have pretty decent surface radar, they will see any "visitors" coming. Then it's on the radio to call out the calvary, if any Navy has ships or aircraft nearby. Failing that, and most of the time it would, you get on the hailing frequency and warn them off. Then you start shooting, shots across the bow if you feel you can safely do that. Then sink the SoBs, before they can get into RPG or bomb range. If you're lucky you set off their main charge when they're a thousand yards or so off.
Of course the "authorities" in every third world cesspool, and most "first world" ones as well, will defecate a brick if you pull into their port armed with such interesting heavy hardware.
"And if they send the same guys back, who are now deaf, they won't need any ear plugs at all."
And that's the point to be made. Our response (NOT .50) means they can come back. Are pirates bad guys or not? Why are we worried about their feelings? I'm sure loud noises would have discouraged the old, real pirates. Loud cannons without balls?
Could be a problem. But if you restrict yourself to 20mm and .50 cals, automation could help alot. You could easily control the entire armament from single station on the bridge.
Think outside the box...it's not to keep from hurting the pirates. One reason it's non-lethal is to prevent having a lethal weapon that can be used in sitations other than an attack on the ship.
I should add the audio frequencies used have to be somewhat high in order to direct it selectively to a target.
As far as actual weapons go, I agree. Use real guns.