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. No Time like Right Now

    Hit the button ! Whadda they waiting for ..a meeting with 20 suits to decide ?

    October 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Peter M

    Sinking the boat is the easy part but with thousands of gallons of diesel fuel onboard, this will create a minor environmental disaster. The fuel needs to be siphoned out before we use it as target practice.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lance

      No kidding genius!

      October 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotYou

      I'm just guessing...but I bet you the Coast Guard would probably have that covered. Just a guess though.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randall

      really? that's' the best you can do?

      October 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lance

    WOW Sen. Mark Begich. Finally a democrat I like. How about we go 1 step further and put those pirates back on the ship before we shell it. Sounds like a great idea to me.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • William

      the only difference between the pirates and the rats is the rats have 4 legs. Drain the diesel and send the whole thing- ship, rats and pirates to the bottom.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    While I agree with the idea of sinking the ship, I echo Dude's comment "make sure you know how far rats can swim" and you better get the drift nets off the rust bucket before you sink it. Otherwise they will go on killing marine life. One of the reasons that it's not always a good idea to listen to politicians who look at the easy publicity ploy.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotYou

      The Senator proposed the general idea. The Coast Guard will work out the details (fuel drainage, nets, etc.). This is how life works-those at the top don't actually do the work, they just come up with a broad concept (or borrow another's idea) and pass it down to be executed.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Drew Carey

    clean up the ship and I'll buy the ship for $1!!

    October 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Evarin

    Newflash: Some rats will make the swim to shore.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • PD

      3 miles to shore in the Bearing Sea, doubt any rat could make it for even 100 yards.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sport Fisherman

    I certainly hope if the vessel is used for training purposes (which I support) that the nets would be removed and destroyed. Sinking the ship with the nets would allow those nets to continue to keep fishing and probably forever.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NoMoreTaxes

    Why stop at draining the ship of fuel? Why not harvest the pirate's organs, too? If the ship is disposable, the crew is as well, and sends a clearer message. The American Indians used every part of the buffalo. Take what we want of the pirates and feed the rest to our cattle.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. CrazyH2182

    How is it environmentally sound to blast this thing into the water? Just bomb it with pesticides and take it apart for scrap

    October 6, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotYou

      Because pesticides are so environmentally friendly. After removing the fuel and other large contaminants, I'm sure it will be fine. Probably a benefit to the ecosystem.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mark

    Sounds like Grandstanding to me, just sink the darn thing

    October 6, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Oingo Boingo

    Add all the rats from Wash DC, then shell it!

    October 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Andrew

    Blow it up. Shoot the survivors. Burn the net. Make the crew clean up the mess.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. petercha

    To quote Indiana Jones.... "Oh, Rats!" lol

    October 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. erich2112x

    Let's let that 22 tons of squid and shark carcasses ripen a bit first,

    October 6, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dcc

    They should disable it anchor it well off the coast put the pirates back on board and let them eat the rats for survival

    October 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
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