'Acoustic cannon' used to fend off Somali pirates

You heard about the Maersk Alabama cargo ship before when it made headlines after a daring rescue mounted by Navy snipers. Well, the vessel had another brush-in with the same pirates off the coast of Somalia, and this time managed to evade capture. Not only were the crew complimented by private security personnel, but they also had another ace up their sleeve: a sonic cannon.

Known as a Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, the non-lethal weapon is capable of cranking out enough decibels of noise to permanently damage hearing and even muck up one's vision. Hundreds of them are being used in Iraq, though cruise ships and commercial vessels are now being outfitted with LRADs to combat pirates.

It's paid off for the Seaborn Spirit, a cruise ship that was attacked on November 5th, and now for the Alabama.

WSJ and Spiegel Online, via Neatorama