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Is Britney ‘Toxic’ to Somali pirates? British Navy uses pop as scare tactic

Published: Updated:

Who would have thought Britney Spears would be at the forefront of fighting Somali piracy. Her raunchy pop tunes are good for more than just a turn on the dance floor it seems.

According to British newspaper Metro, Britney’s hits, including Oops! I Did It Again and Baby One More Time, are being employed by British naval officers in attempt to drive off Somali pirates operating along the cost of east Africa.

Merchant Naval Officer Rachel Owens explained the tactics to Metro: “Her songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them most.

“These guys can’t stand western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect. As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can,” said Owens, who works on supertankers off the east coast of Africa.

Steven Jones of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry told Metro: “Pirates will go to any lengths to avoid or try to overcome the music.”

Pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia are at the lowest level since 2006 because of tougher ship security and more Western naval patrols, while onshore al-Shabaab militants have shifted tactics to guerrilla warfare, the United Nations said on Wednesday, according to a report by Reuters this week.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said there were 17 attacks in the first nine months of 2013, compared to 99 attacks in the same period last year.

“As of 17 October, 2013, two small vessels and 60 seafarers are still held by Somali pirates, most of them ashore, and some of which the whereabouts are unknown,” he said, adding that in 2012 pirates collected up to $40 million (24.7 million pounds) in ransom payments.

“The hostages held by Somali pirates endure dire conditions in captivity and are sometimes tortured and threatened by pirates in an effort to extract the maximum ransom,” Ban said.

According to estimates by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Bank, pirates received up to $413 million in ransoms between April 2005 and December 2012.

(With Reuters)