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 .