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. edog355

    Why is the Coast Guard – which is by definition – supposed to be "guarding the coast", 2,600 miles away from Alaska? Doesn't that put them somewhere not even close to the coast of the US?

    October 6, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      It's much easier to observe and track boats on the high seas than right up against a rocky, jagged, meandering coast line. Also, high seas law is grossly outdated. It's just plain short-sighted to let some crappy unregulated fishery go unchecked and kill all the fish headed back to our coast line.

      October 6, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      The USA has a lot of protectorates and small islands that we are responsible for. They were probably operating out of the Aleutians which stretch all of the way over to Russian waters.

      October 6, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      Isn't that like asking what the Navy is doing in the air flying planes, shouldn't the Air Force be the only one doing that? Also, if the Coast Guard wasn't out there doing it who would? The Navy cannot enforce laws due to Posse Comitatus.

      October 6, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • ccc

      The law is something we use to control other nations it dosen't apply to U.S. government ships.

      October 6, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • youredumb

      You're all idiots. Literally worthless idiots. Get some facts and then come with your dumb arguments.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      What a coward you are, "youredumb." Why don't you inform us, given the fact that you are the ultimate arbiter of worthiness?

      October 6, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. John127

    Follow Russia's lead.......

    October 6, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • richp

      Seems to work well, no more Russian ships bothered since then.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Army Vet

    It would be nice if they towed it to warmer waters and sank it about 100 ft below. would make an awesome dive site.

    October 6, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Wally Balloo

    Can't we put Congress on board instead before we sink it? Seems like they would get along well with a bunch of useless rats....

    October 6, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • ccc

      That would be considered animal cruelty, its one thing to kill a bunch of rats, its another to make them suffer an onslaught of congressman before they die.

      October 6, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Coastiemom

    My son served 19 months on USCG cutter and they certainly should deserve our respect. Not only intercepting drug runners, picking up barely floating boatloads of migrants, and some of the first responders to the Haiti earthquake, if each of us contributed in a small percentage of this way, what a better world we would live in. thank you USCG!!!

    October 6, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. LargeHuman

    CNN, Please learn how to write a headline!

    October 6, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • youredumb

      There's nothing wrong with idiot.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. fred

    Blow it up!!!

    October 6, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jbad04

    I like the idea. But let the Munro have the honors. It was her catch and besides, she has a 76mm main gun compared to NSC's little 57mm (a step backward in my opinion). But, given the state of that rustbucket, the 57mm would probably do.

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

    I can see Russia from here....

    October 6, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. william

    bad rats

    October 6, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. LargeHuman

    Sure, but put the pirates back on the boat first!!! Duh!

    October 6, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Goodlord!

    Fill it with Republicans. Then sink it.

    October 6, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Navy Chief

      Better to load it with your Wall Street SEIU vermin.

      October 6, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. Navy Chief

    I suppose it is environmentally sound, and politically correct, for an otherwise unemployable politician to advocate the further littering of the sea bottom, so long as said bottom feeder is an insufferable egotistical “I-know-better-than-you” democrat. I can imagine the furious media outcry had an Independent, or Republican put this idea forward. I also suppose scrap metal has no recyclable value either? Wing- nut...

    October 6, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Benzin

      They usually clean out all the asbestos, oil, fuel, lead paint, and other nasty chemicals before they sink ships for reef building. I suspect they would do something similar for this, so it wouldn't be particularly enviromentally unsound and it may even have a positive impact by providing new reef-like habitats.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Goodlord!

      Fill it with Republicans, Job Creators, and Navy Chiefs. Then blow it up.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jon

    Want to send a message or make a statement....Sink that boat, nets, crew, rats and all.

    October 6, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. Barnacle Bill

    Fishing for pirates? Long pig is a delicacy!

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