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. Dude

    Just make sure you know how far rats can swim . . .

    October 6, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • sinklikeabrick

      My thoughts exactly!!

      October 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edgar Friendly

      In the Bering Sea? Not very far.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • jrm

      Dead rats will make good crab chow! Still, wrecks are a hassle in a place with an active fishery. You need to be a little careful about where you drop the hulk – how much waste oil there is on board and so on – still seems like a good idea though.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Madoc

    OH OH! Hire me! Ive been an out of work Exterminator for 3 years going through college on grants and scholarships and could use the money to help feed me! I'll take care of them rats, we can keep the boat, and sell it to legitimate fishermen rather than just sink it to the bottom of the sea!

    October 6, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Random

      Don't write on CNN email your Congressman and or the Coast Guard with a proposal.

      October 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Spuds

    So what the hell are they waiting for? Just frigging do it!! or do we need the blessing of Sarah Palin – jeez

    October 6, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. big b

    Leave the other rats onboard too!!

    October 6, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. GRS62

    Already up in arms, PETR (People for the Ethical Treatment of Rats) has vowed to sue the Coast Guard to prevent the killing of the rats. Madoc is also in their sights. ;>)

    October 6, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • JEB

      All aboard PETA!

      October 6, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Zenichimaro

    I only agree to this if Congress is offered deck chairs on the target boat. I mean, after all, it would be rude to make them stand.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dan Bee

    sink the boats.......... just pull the humans off and sink the entire boat

    October 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. PaulD

    I can just see it now, the rats swim to the Coast Guard cutter after they blow up the rust bucket, and the captain goes on the ship's intercom after a short pause: "attention all personnel...put your pant legs in your socks..."

    October 6, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sparky

    rat-infested, stateless pirate fishing vessel is a ship in the Repuke Navy

    October 6, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jrm

    I've got an idea on where to hold the next Tea Party Booze Cruise!

    October 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Coastie

    For those that are baffled why one of our cutters would be involved in something so far out, one of our missions is to support INTERNATIONAL fishing laws/agreements. Not just those fisheries within the US Exclusive Economic Zone.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. qwedie

    The Chinese will get them if we let them know they are there. "good protein" Rat on a stick is street food in China.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ginalee

    Those suckers can swim...don't underestimate rats.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ron

    Do NOT underestimate how far a rat can swim, even in the Aleutians. Three milles isn't even close to being far enough. 30 to 50 miles would be the minimum.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Just thinkin'

    Don't you think sinking an operational ship has quite a few environmental concerns that go along with it? Kill the rats and get some bids to recycle the thing. This provides work and protects the environment at the same time. A win-win situation. That's probably the more responsible thing to do.... just a thought.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
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