Navy ships are using Britney Spears to scare off Somali pirates.
Captains are playing the popstar’s hits at full volume to deter ‘western culture-hating’ pirates and stop them boarding the ships, merchant navy officer Rachel Owens revealed to the Metro.
Classic hits Baby One More Time and Oops! I Did It Again are being used and have proved effective at stopping kidnap attempts from bandits.
Second Officer Owens, who works on supertankers off the east coast of Africa, said: ‘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.’
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‘Hit Me Baby, One More Time’: Somali pirates apparently hate Western music – especially Britney Spears
Vessels in the area come under attack frequently from pirates who board the ships and demand multi-million-pound ransoms.
One of the most high-profile cases was in 2009 when a 17,000 ton container ship, owned by Maersk Line, was been hijacked by Somalia pirates with 20 crew members aboard while sailing from Salalah in Oman to the Kenyan port of Mombassa via Djibouti.
Hijacked: ne of the most high-profile cases was in 2009 when a 17,000 ton container ship, owned by Maersk Line, was hijacked by Somalia pirates with 20 crew members aboard
Deterrent: Britney Spears songs are played to pirates to deter them from boarding ships
Ms Owens, who guides tankers through the waters, said the ship’s speakers can be aimed at the pirates so the crew are not disturbed.
‘It’s so effective the ship’s security rarely needs to resort to firing guns,’ said the 34-year-old, from Gartmore, near Aberfoyle, Stirling.
‘As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can.’
Steven Jones, of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, added: ‘Pirates will go to any lengths to avoid or try to overcome the music.’
‘I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention.’
Spears, who started her career in a 1990s revamp of the Mickey Mouse Club (with Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake… and Ryan Gosling), has always pointed to Madonna and Janet Jackson as two of her major influences.
Perhaps now she can boast that warding off piracy on the high seas is an honour (albeit a dubious one) that Madonna and Jackson can’t claim.