Friday, April 2, 2010

Somali Pirates Make Poor Tactical Decision

The USS Nicholas is a 445-foot guided missile frigate. It weighs approximately 4,200 tons, can reach speeds of over 29 knots, and comes standard with a tasty array of sonar, RADAR, and other advanced sensor technology. Oh, and about half a dozen weapon systems.

I'm telling you this so that, in case you ever spot the Nicholas on the open seas, you do not try to hijack it in your three-person speedboat. Which is exactly what a trio of rather unfortunate Somali pirates attempted to do a few nights ago.

Now, granted, it was dark, and the pirates probably didn't realize they were attacking a ship that was not only armed, but actually had several entire genres of weapons from which to choose when it came time to defend itself.

But I like to think the pre-attack planning went something like this:

Ibrahim: There is the ship. We attack at once!
Sharif: Yay!
Ibrahim: Omar? I did not hear you cheering.
Ibrahim: Sighs. What is it this time, Omar?
Omar: I just… I am not sure that this is an oil tanker.
Ibrahim: It is. It is an oil tanker. I am certain.
Omar: How do you know?
Ibrahim: I just do. I know.
Omar: Have you ever seen an oil tanker?
Ibrahim: Yes. Many times.
Omar: I mean in real life. Not on television.
Ibrahim: … It's an oil tanker.
Omar: I don't think it is.
Ibrahim: What do you think it is, Omar? The Love Boat?
Sharif: Ohh! I would like to meet the Gopher!
Ibrahim: Shut up, Sharif. I was only mocking Omar.
Sharif: That is very disappointing.
Omar: Listen, Ibrahim, we should wait until dawn. That way we can make sure it is an oil tanker.
Ibrahim: No. We attack now. I want an oil tanker now.
Omar: Is this just because Noor captured that oil tanker the other day?
Ibrahim: No. That has nothing to do with this. And Noor is stupid. And also, his hair is ugly.
Omar: Ibrahim…
Ibrahim: And nobody likes him anyway. Him and his dumb tanker.
Omar: This is a bad idea.
Ibrahim: It is a great idea. In fact, we will vote on how great an idea it is. Everyone who thinks this is a great idea, raise your hand.
Ibrahim raises his hand. A long beat.
Ibrahim: Sharif, raise your hand.
Sharif: What's in it for me?
Ibrahim: Sharif, raise your hand or I will shoot you and throw you overboard.
Sharif: Omar, do you have a counter-offer?
Omar: I do not.
Sharif raises his hand.
Ibrahim: It is settled then. We attack at once. Sharif, ready your AK-47. Those poor fools will have no choice but to surrender when they hear the bone-chilling report of our automatic weapons!
Omar: Did you practice that line?
Ibrahim: No. Shut up.
Omar: I'm telling you, it's not—
Ibrahim fires his AK-47. BADABADABADABAD!
Ibrahim: It worked! They're slowing—
The night sky ahead blazes with the sudden and terrible flash of 50mm deck guns. THOOMATHOOMATHOOMATHOOMA!
Ibrahim: What in the hell was that!?!
Sharif: I have soiled myself, Ibrahim!

It might seem like overkill for the Nicholas to have attacked a three-person skiff with 50mm mounted deck guns, but keep in mind that these were actually the smallest weapons on the ship. If they'd used any of their other options, the only thing left of their attackers would have been pirate-scented vapor.

After the (ahem) battle with the skiff, the Nicholas went on to capture the pirate mother ship, which I'm guessing isn't nearly as impressive a vessel as the term mother ship implies.

Job well done, Nicholas.

(Photos courtesy the official USS Nicholas website, and Wikipedia.)