Africa's Eastern coast has been plagued by Pirates for many years now, and there's been next to nothing done about it. In fact, many of Africa's poorest regard these pirates as heroes or even successful businessmen. To them, you're frowned upon if you don't jump on the chance to be a pirate. And while many businesses begged the local governments to do something about the attacks, the answer was almost almost a uniform "No."
Seeing this cry for help as a business opportunity, a private British company (Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions (APMSS)) has come up with a solution to battle these pirates before they ever reach their victim's vessel. This weapon is, quite simply, music or sound. The sound is played via a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), which is about the size of a typical satellite dish. The sound played over the "dish" comes from a typical Mp3 player, to which it is attached. The volume of the sound played over the LRAD can be decreased or increased- to an almost unbearable level.
According to APMSS chief executive Nick Davis, "It's very effective up to 1,000 metres and excruciating if you get within 100 to 200 metres if it's at full power. It would give you more or less permanent hearing damage."
So here is a brief explanation of how the LRAD is used. The APMSS sends their LRAD and software, along with a three man team, to their client vessel. The vessel will be outfitted with the LRAD and all needed equipment. Once the vessel begins it's journey, passengers keep an eager eye for pirates. Once the pirates are spotted, the LRAD is "deployed" against them. Initially, the pirates are too far away for the sound to be painful, but the closer they come, the more unbearable it becomes.
Davis also gave a recent example of the LRAD in the field, when a group of pirates were spotted a few miles away from the LRAD equipped vessel. "At two miles they sounded the general alarm. The pirates slowed down at around 600 metres and continued to 400 metres, waving AK47s," Davis said. "The pirates then turned away and went to the vessel without security that was three to four miles behind ours," he said.
It's ingenuity like this that makes me proud of my species. Serisouly, who would have thought to arm a boat with a giant satellite dish that shoots sound waves at enemies? But not only did someone come up with such an outrageous idea, they acted on it- and it worked. Now, companies (and sailors, no doubt) are rejoicing that they can do more than just sit and cross their fingers- hoping that their murchandise or employees are not wrongfully taken or harmed.