Kill rats and show off Coast Guard firepower, senator says
The Coast Guard cutter Munro intercepted a pirate fishing vessel off Alaska last month.
October 5th, 2011
01:34 PM ET

Kill rats and show off Coast Guard firepower, senator says

What do you do with a rat-infested, stateless pirate fishing vessel? Blow it up to show off the firepower of the Coast Guard's newest, toughest cutters, a U.S. senator says.

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.

The Coast Guard deployed the new National Security Cutters, the Bertholf and the Waesche, last year.

The Coast Guard deployed its first two National Security Cutters, the Bertholf, and the Waesche, last year. Three more are in the works. The new cutters replace 40-year-old High Endurance Cutters at a time when the service faces new missions.

The new cutters have a crew of 113, a range of 12,000 miles, a helicopter flight deck and small-boat launch platform, and their command-and-control systems permit increased interoperability with the departments of Homeland Security and Defense, the Coast Guard says.

In a release announcing the capture of the Bangun Perkasa, Rear Adm. Cari Thomas, the Coast Guard director of response policy, saluted the 40-year-old Munro and hailed the arrival of the new ships.

“This case demonstrates how our cutters and crews allow the United States to maintain constant vigil far from the U.S. mainland and reflects the value of having a maritime service that can protect U.S. interests including the environment, security and safety regionally and globally,” the admiral said.

“Our high endurance cutters routinely operate from South America to the Bering Sea conducting alien migrant interdiction operations, domestic fisheries protection, search and rescue, counternarcotics and homeland security operations for extended periods of time. The Munro, and cutters like it, are more than 40 years old and slated for replacement. National Security Cutters that are faster, better equipped, more durable, safer and more efficient than their predecessor, will continue to ensure U.S. interests are protected today and for decades to come.”

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Filed under: Alaska • Environment • Pirates • U.S. Coast Guard
soundoff (363 Responses)
  1. Dan Brown

    Not a bad plan, but what about the diesel fuel aboard? I'm sure Alaskans would rather not have that around.

    Maybe the Ketchikan yard would take it for scrap?

    October 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • NanookoftheNorth

      We dont want no stinkin' crap in our scrap 😉

      October 6, 2011 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. justathought

    The article didn't say anything, but I wonder what kind of detection and offence it has for subs, you know, like drug smuggling subs. The drug cartel brag that their subs can operate 30 feet under the surface.

    October 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Killing these rats would only make us look bad in the eyes of other rats. It would actually encourage further rat activity. Rats already hate us enough because of our recent anti rat policies and our unquestioning support of Israel. It is time for a more balanced world rat policy.

    October 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • zeke

      Which is also why you are called Bimbo the Birthday Clown. You are, "The Tool of The Day".

      October 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      Why am I not surprised that someone named "Zeke" doesn't get sarcasm?

      October 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • DJ Kiral

      hahahaha.. love it.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • average Joe

      shove it zeke.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merebear

      Bimbo the Birthday Clown in 2012!

      October 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • manof4

      Bimbo you just made me spit milk out my nose!

      October 5, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • EJ

      Post of the day.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • bdubs

      zeeeekkkkeeee i once hated a kid with that name. come to think of it, he was a tool, too.
      the rat joke was funny, so suck it.

      October 5, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • easterli


      October 6, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    @Bimbo the Birthday Clown:
    Well played, sir!

    October 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mad Ole Lady

    We got enough rats on land. Don't need any more. So blow the thing up!!!!

    October 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    @mad ole lady:

    Hey! How have you been?
    How's your Hovercraft with the spinners?


    BtBC was kidding...sarcasm, don't you know.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Newmoon2

    Drain the fuel and sink that POS!

    October 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rob

    How much do the shells cost on that boat? Instead of wasting them, find cheaper rounds... then get rid of it!!

    October 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. r.ortiz

    welcome those great new cutters, take that rat infested ship and sink it in the deepest part of the sea.

    October 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Merebear, that's a great idea, except unfortunately, he's not eligible....

    October 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 4dogs

    Cheap rounds you say? How about some ammo that is worth millions and billions? The big wigs drawing all of the million and billion dollar bonuses sound like cheap rounds worthy of sinking a rat infested ship. Load em into torpedo tubes and fire away.

    October 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mr President

    Can I bring my staff on board to see our relatives befire we waste them? We can clean up the mess with the new jobs I am creating. Oops, I lied again. Vote for me or you are a racist.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • boogietime

      Actually, I am surprised at you Mr President. Why don't you just look the other way on this like your other relatives living in America illegally, and just let the rats enter?

      October 6, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. prof

    Cool. Can we put Bachmann, Perry, and Palin on board too?

    October 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • NanookoftheNorth

      .....sure, you can be the ship's capt. Prof !

      October 6, 2011 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. wishing

    First, legally condemn the ship. Then consign it to the deep.

    October 5, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. southside nike

    Can rats swim 3 miles? Alaska may have a problem if they can

    October 5, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • NanookoftheNorth

      They'd freeze to death first. Then come spring.....all the polar bears could have Ratatouille popsicles 😉

      October 6, 2011 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
    • boogietime

      Make them swim to Rat Island. Seriously, Alaska has an island called Rat Island.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
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