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. craig

    who would incur the cost of making the ship safe enough to sink, the weeks of clean up prior to a sink-x are very costly, removing all oils, pcbs, precious metals, and there are many more parts, sell it to the highest bidder and let the coast guard participate in the next sink-x the navy does if it wants to show off its new toys

    October 6, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Don_J

      OK... we load the ship with rat poison wait for them to die then sell the ship for scrap... would that work for you... either way I'm cool.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • TheThinker

      Bill the pirates.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • School Teacher Glenn

      Prefer them to put the pirates back on board, and then sink the boat with both sets of "rats" on board.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Sams Dog

      Craig.....Absolutely true.....Anyone familiar w/ boats knows that even small vessels contain materials that should not be released into the water.......Not to mention a huge mess and possible dangers to navigation. Sinking it is a naive solution.
      Poison will take care of the rats.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  2. Osro

    Great so lets just put those 10 miles of nets right back into the ocean where they can continue indiscriminately killing marine life...

    October 6, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Im pretty sure its just going to be sunk as an artificial reef.. The nets are probably safely stowed away on board and wont be harming much of anything anymore.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. Carolinelew

    My husband (and I) spent over 20 years in the C.G. Our son retired from the C.G. While in active duty we served off the coast of Alaska. Alaska is most productive in marine life. Turning some of these fishing vessels lose without supervision will soon deplete these marine resources. It has happened in other places not near as important to marine life as AK.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. boogietime

    Can it be towed somewhere for scrap? Scrap metal is worth quite a bit these days. Oh and the shark carcasses means that this was a Chinese vessel stealing our resources.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Mick

      its not just china that eats shark fin soup, and also the name of the boat suggests it is Indonesian.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. someone

    Just as long as they video tape it and show it.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ridge William

    If it gets blown up what happens to the fuel and other pollutants on board? Leave it to a Senator to never think anything through.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. Loss4Words

    Artificial Reef!

    October 6, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. bill

    I can only assuume Sarah spied those rascally pirates from her back porch and national security ensued!!

    October 6, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. johnharry

    you may fire when ready Gridley

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

    Waiting for PETA to get in on this one, park a boat next to it and start screaming "Protect the Rats" while wearing Rat costumes.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • jc

      That might confuse the Coast Guard. "Which ship do we shoot?" "Shoot them. Shoot them both." Meh heh heh.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. Darrell

    Put all the politicans except Herman Cain on board with the no good rats, They will sail off together and hope thy end up
    In China!

    October 6, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • jc

      No, he definitely needs to be on board. The man is an idiot. "No money, no jobs, blame yourself?" Really? Despite companies buying up the senators and congressmen so that we actually have legislation in place that provide a tax bonus for relocating American jobs to China? What happened to our textile industry? What happened to our steel industry? Where are my damned Levi jeans made now? How many banks did we bail out? The man sold out.... they all sold out.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Paul

    I hate rats. Make it safe and then sink it.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. REEKO

    I thought they said the rats were being held on shore.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. InkMot

    I love the Coast Guard. I think they do a lot of good for many Americans, yet seem to get little recognition. As a recreational sailor, it's comforting to know that they're out and about and that they can be called on if I'm ever in serious trouble on the water. Each year, I hear about a few incidents where folks were rescued by the Coasties and I'm often surprised at the risks and effort that was expended by the Coast Guard to accomplish this. I hope that with all of the extra money that's been spent on national security in that past decade that they've also benefitted.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. dt

    Show off our firepower? Haven't we had enough of that crap? I think priority should be given to finding out who the perps are and what the story is – is this a bunch of rag-rags from some starving third world place, a spy ship, a Chinese vessel rigged for theft? When the answers are found then we can take the next practical steps.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • danial54

      Sinking is probably one of the best ideas I've heard come from the mouth of a US Senator in years. If not sink it, it would cost a lot of time and man hours de-ratting the thing and then what do you do with the "piece of junk". You quote haven't we had enough of that?" You make it sound like we are starting a war. Think this out man.
      Sink it........Sink it deep. Let out Coasties have a little fun with some target practice on it.
      Nuff said.

      October 6, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
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