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calendar   Thursday - October 06, 2011

Not What I Was Expecting

Senator Begich: Sink The Pirates, Kill Those Dirty Rats

Alaska Senator calls for Coast Guard to open fire on pirate ships

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Crew from the Coast Guard cutter Munro seized the Bangun Perkasa, which was not operating under a national flag, 2,600 miles off Alaska in September after it was suspected of engaging in fishing with drift nets on the high seas, according to the Coast Guard. Drift net fishing is illegal because the nets indiscriminately kill massive amounts of fish and other marine life such as endangered whales and turtles.

The vessel was found to have been using 10 miles of drift nets and had 22 tons of squid and 30 shark carcasses aboard, the Coast Guard said. The fishing boat and its crew of 22 were towed to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands.

And that’s when the Coast Guard found evidence of rats on board.

Ships with rats aboard are not allowed into Alaska ports, so the Bangun Perkasa sits at anchor three miles out of Dutch Harbor. Its crew is in custody ashore.

But the rats are still aboard, and Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska says they should be dispatched to the deep along with the ship and its drift nets.

“It would send an unambiguous signal that pirate fishing is unacceptable to the United States and will not be tolerated.  It will prevent this rust bucket from ending up back on the market where it most likely would only fall into the hands of some other pirate,” Begich said in a statement.

Shelling the vessel would also give the Coast Guard a chance to show off its newest ships, the National Security Cutters, the senator said.

“In addition to solving the rat problem, using the Bangun Perkasa for gunnery practice could demonstrate the advanced firepower of the Coast Guard’s new National Security Cutters,” Begich said in his statement.



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USCGC Munro (WHEC-724) has been patrolling the seas for 40 years now. The 378 foot long ship took part in the 2004 Indonesian tsunami relief effort, was part of the KAL-007 airliner salvage operation, and any number of drug interdictions, sea rescues including the MV Alaskan Ranger affair, and deep water patrols in between. She presently calls Kodiak Alaska her home port. A Coast Guard cutter is about 3/5 the size of a Navy destroyer; as military ships go, it’s fairly small. The Munro is one of the CG’s Hamilton class cutters. From what I can gather, the ship was built with a single 5” gun as her main armament. This has since been replaced with a rapid fire 3” gun. The new generation of Coast Guard cutters, called National Security Cutters, are 40 feet longer, built with the latest and greatest systems, but their “big gun” is a single 57mm (2 1/4"). There just isn’t much call for cannons at sea anymore. So when Senator Begich (D-AK) called for the new NSC ships to use the pirate fishing boat as gunnery practice, he might have given them quite a challenge. Let’s just hope that they do it far at sea, because rats can swim for quite a distance.

Not being an artilleryman myself, I’m only guessing here, but I’d bet that it would only take about 3 or 4 hits from a 5” gun to do the job, and about 15 hits from a 76mm gun. It might be an all day affair trying to sink a fair sized ship with a 57mm, which throws a shell weighing less than a quarter what the 5” gun threw. The new generation of National Security ships also have a sea range 2,000 miles less than the old ships. But they have a helo pad and you can launch little rubber boats out the back of them! Such is progress.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/06/2011 at 11:07 AM   
Filed Under: • MilitaryPirates, aarrgh! •  
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