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)


    October 6, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Victimsadvo

    Destroy the drift nets first, so they don't continue to cause a problem in the ocean. Off load as much of the fuel and contaminants as possible, then by all means, blow the d*mn thing up.

    October 6, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gaadffly

    Why not keep all the rats on board, two and four legged ?? Would be better target practice with a real moving target.

    October 6, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    I don't know what use this ship would be for anything else *but* target practice...

    October 6, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jim Weix

    Put the crew back on board before you blow it up and sink it. Then you will get ALL the rats

    October 6, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. stu

    even the 40 year old Munro looks pristine next to this scuttle bucket Bangun Perkasa. Why did CNN not publish the nationalities of the crew and captain? Do they know or suspect this to be a rogue fishing vessil, or is it suspected of being part of an organized network?

    October 6, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steve Parsons

    Why are are stopping boats 2,600 miles from out coastline? That's half way across the world!

    October 6, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      We destroy drift nets 2700 miles off shore in part because they kill the valuable salmon that much of Alaska depends on. These fish come out of our rivers and swim thousands of miles off shore. We have to protect our economic interests where ever that might be.

      October 6, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • STEVE

      That was my question – that's a long ways from 'protecting' our coastline, but I suppose when you 'act' like the International police department, then you have no boundaries!

      October 6, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Vitto

      As a Petty Officer in the Coast Guard; We are not bound by the coast. We have personnel all over the world including over seas in the Middle East. Our main focus is our coast and maritime issues. We do patrols all over.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. rick winquest

    they need to put a lot of politicians on there prior to sinking her, mostly tea baggers and republicans

    October 6, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Big T

      What an idiot.

      October 6, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. stu

    This article is a little more informative:

    October 6, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Thanks for the link, it answered some questions I had.

      October 6, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Why isn't anybody interested in where the ship or crew is coming from? Could it be that these guys just pooled their life saving to form an cooperative? More likely they are funded, perhaps indirectly, by some large corporation that buys their catch no questions asked and sells it to fine dining establishments in the U.S. but Senator Begich knows looking into that would cost him campaign contributions while blowing the whole thing up is a vote getter.

    October 6, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. Greg663

    pull nets and destroy nets, sink rat infested ship oh yea put original crew back on board and then sink all , circle of life keeps going , artificial reef made , rats for fish, gone , thieves thinned out of herd , gone no more worries from any of it.

    October 6, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff

    I love it, send her to the bottom. clear teh fuel and nets first.

    October 6, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. steve jobs

    Hmm pretty sure they are either Russian or Chinese, the only 2 countries that could have a base for such a ship in that part of the world.

    October 6, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. keith

    yeah lets just take them away from their actual ties so they can fire off their guns for a little while.....gotta love when senators and congressional members think they know the answer better than the actual service

    October 6, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  15. Willie12345

    So, who is going to jail for the crime indicated ?

    October 6, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15