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.”

Post by:
Filed under: Alaska • Environment • Pirates • U.S. Coast Guard
soundoff (363 Responses)
  1. Dutch

    Giving the Coast Guard live ammunition is like Barnie Fifie carrying a Thompson.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • me

      I will make the assumption that you have not served your country and are just riding the coattails of those of us who have.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Benzuda

      You sir are a moron. The Coast Guard is one of the most highly trained branches of our armed services. They have a tougher boot camp than the marines. You better hope you don't wind up on the wrong side of these guys.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • shane

      Clearly you are uneducated and know nothing about the Coast Guard. Get a life Idiot!

      October 6, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • EX-Squid

      Dutch, I take offense at your insult that the Coast Guard is like Barney Fife. Having served in the Navy I know the truth. That truth is that to be in the Coast Guard you must be 6 ft if your ship sinks you can walk to shore. Barney wasn't 6ft....

      On a serious side why the hell not. They're pirates sink em. I just wish we go after those Somalians. Who knows maybe we can get the NRA to rent a cruise ship and take a few members for a cruise, weapons included. I know that's a cruise I'd like to go on.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Craig

      I guess if you were one of the rats, some of you a holes might have a different opinion.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Cinman

      Stop by and try to survive their first week of training. Sounds like you'd go home in tears.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Ex-Cutterman USCGC Jarvis

      Maybe they can leave it there for Sarah Palin to shoot at too. I bet she can see it from her house.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Boiseguy44

    Why not? It's a prize ship and that does send an immediate message.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Chip

      And besides, it's fun to blow things up. (and what good is a Thompson machine gun with just one bullet...)

      October 6, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. CJ

    I just don't understand. The boat just sank 50 miles off shore. Rats will will feed the crabs anyway.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. ProAm

    SINK IT! It would at least be a good payback for marine life as a sanctuary.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Drain every drop of oil and fuel out of her and then blow the hell out of it.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. shane


    "They have a tougher boot camp than the marines"

    LOL – Surely your kidding? Right?

    October 6, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • EX-Squid

      Actually the Coast Guard and Navy use the same boot camp and schools.
      They are considered brothers to the Navy just like the Marines and there's plenty of friendly kidding that goes on between us.
      Boot camp varies between the services, with each focusing on specifics that others pass. Example Navy & CG are taught firefighting, Marines, Army, Air Force aren't. Army and Marines focus on small arms,and hand to hand combat, Navy CG, AF not so much. When I went through Navy boot camp I fired 10 rounds with a .45 pistol. Because I hit the target over 7 times I was brought back to qualify for Marksman. Everyone else in my battalion only fired 10 rounds in boot. Like I said not very extensive.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. roljam

    Hire an exterminator to kill off the rats. Clean the ship out. Sell it and put that money toward paying down the debt. Toss a decent bonus to the Coast Guard for capturing the ship as an incentive. Do that with enough pirate fishing boats and we work toward solving two issues at the same time.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrea M

      Lake a look at the thing, it's barely seaworthy and the money put in to fixing it would probably be more than what it's worth. It will probably cost more in man hours to scrap it than the steel could fetch at sale too. Drain it of all hazardous materials and blow it up. It's good target practice and makes for a nice home for some marine life to move into.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. DirtyDeeds

    I say tow it out, WAY OUT! and sink it. Rats will swim a long way for survival. They'll eat the nesting bird's eggs when they get to shore.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. thomas

    2600 miles from U S shores? and I'm sorry what gives us jurisdiction? OK so they were using drift nets, but NOT IN US WATERS. Now we are going to not just confiscate private property but destroy it because rat are on board, just exterminate the rats.
    We can not police the world, Rome tried it and collapsed, England tried it and collapsed, were next.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • seriously226

      This gives us jurisdiction: "the United States is party to several international treaties banning illegal, unreported and unregulated pirate fishing, a multibillion-dollar global enterprise that supporters say threatens the livelihood of the U.S. fishing industry — a big moneymaker in Alaska."

      October 6, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. Silverdyna

    @Dutch You mean the branch of service that lost a higher percentage of life in both World Wars than any other branch? The guys who served in enemy waters deep in the Mekong Delta? Who board the vessels of drug runners, pirates and terrorists? Who risk life and limb in stormy waters in both war and peacetime? You sound like a disgruntled Squid. Just remember, if it weren't for the Coast Guard, you Navy guys would have ugly babies....

    October 6, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      "Just remember, if it weren't for the Coast Guard, you Navy guys would have ugly babies...."

      That is one of the greatest comebacks I have ever seen. That's beautiful.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • EX-Squid

      LOL nice one!! BTW you must be 6ft tall right? Puddle Jumpers away!!!

      October 6, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. john/kc

    Send all those pirate ships to Davy Jones Locker. Guard the US coastline with that enormous navy of ours and scuttle all pirate ships.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. hindquarter

    Ok Dutch... lets put your son or daughter on one of those new USCG cutters who's responsibility is to protect the shores of our country as well as national security without the ammo that may very well be needed to defend themselves... and/or destroy illegal junk. How would you feel to be living on a sitting duck? Rest assuered, the criminals they may encounter will be armed with AK-47s, rocket launchers and RPGs. The USCG are very well trained service members of US and my hat goes off to them as well as the rest of our service members who have taken an othe that occasionally puts them in harms way in an effort to perserve justice and freedom for all... even you! Where ever you may be. Unless, of course, you yourself are a criminal?

    October 6, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Really?

    There are environmental consequences to sinking a boat–it HAS to be scuttled in accordance with regulations that require hazardous materials, petroleum, RATS, etc., be removed so those materials do not kill the crabs or decimate other living marine species. And don't forget about the high seas drift net killing machine. Begich is an idiot. And so are some of you commentators! This isn't a "green" issue, it's a hazardous waste issue.

    @Dutch: The USCG serves WITH DISTINCTION alongside all the other military branches during war time. Also, I hope you need Barney Fife to save your life in the Bering Sea one day. You'll be gulping your snarky words.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. john

    Why hire someone to get rid of the rats or to clean up the toxic materials from the ship for target practice, when you can get rid of the rats for free? I'd rather disable the ship in the middle of the ocean and have the crew hunt the rats for their food. Then after the ship is free of rats, clean it up, and sell it.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rick

    Wait – first they said the rats were on the ship – then they said the rats were in custody on shore! Seriously though, allowing the Coast Guard, or anyone else, to use it for training is a great idea. I'm just sorry some idiot politician sees it as a media show.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15