Those slow-moving behemoths of the open seas are as vulnerble as ever to pirates, as the latest incident of a Louisiana-bound tanker hijacking this week shows us.
The US-flagged container ship Maersk Alabama repelled an attack by suspected pirates off the northeast coast of Somalia last monty by using evasive maneuvers, small-arms fire and a Long Range Acoustic Device .
Oil tanker operators are a bit reluctant to use firearms to protect the ships given the notion of a potential arms race with pirates and the idea that oil/natural gas and gunfire are generally a bad combination. The LRAD is more likely to be the direction ships will go in the future, according to this article in Next Generation Oil & Gas, which has a nifty graphic on the technologies available.
| Slippery foam, electric fences and automated firehoses are among the weapons vessels can use to deter pirates at sea.