In an excellent case of ‘here’s a sentence you won’t read everyday’, Britney Spears has emerged as an unlikely figurehead in the fight against Somali pirates.
British sea captains are blasting the 31-year-old pop star’s music as they cross the east coast of Africa in a bid to stop the bandits from hijacking their supertankers.
Merchant Navy Officer Rachel Owens said that Oops! I Did It Again and Baby One More Time were “the most effective” tunes to keep the raiders at bay.
“These guys can’t stand Western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect,” said the 34-year-old.
“Her songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them the most,” added another officer.
Ships in the area face the constant threats that Kalashnikov-carrying crooks will board and kidnap their crews for multimillion ransoms.
But Owens revealed that the music was ‘so effective the ship’s security rarely needs to resort to firing guns’.
“As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can,” she added.
Steven Jones, of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, said the pirates would go ‘to any lengths’ to avoid the music.
He joked: “I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention.”
For the record, this is not the first time loud music has been used to deter would-be criminals, although it may be one of the first times this course of action has been used afloat.
In late 1989, US Army troops related to musical torture after being stymied in their efforts to get the Vatican Embassy in Panama City to turn over deposed Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega.
They began blasting rock and rap recording through ‘powerful speakers’ aimed at the building where Noriega had been holed up for four days.