Thursday, April 16, 2009

French navy versus pirates

It's reassuring to learn that the French frigate Nivôse has succeeded in capturing eleven pirates off the coast of Kenya.

This French frigate is part of the Atalante task force set up by the European Union with the aim of combatting piracy in that region.

This morning, I read an interesting article in the US press that summarizes the various methods that might be adopted by merchant vessels to protect themselves against heavily-armed pirates. The basic premise is that merchant ships are not allowed to carry lethal arms... for many obvious reasons. One of the most promising anti-pirate techniques consists of installing remote-controlled fire hoses capable of washing off anybody who tries to scramble up the flanks of a vessel. Another solution would consist of installing an electric fence all around the vessel. Then there are a lot of science-fiction gadgets that are theoretically capable of deterring invaders without actually killing them. But by far the best solution of all consists of calling upon the services of a navy, because they've got all the right goods to deal with attackers. That, after all, is what navies were designed to do.

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