CAIRO—The Egyptian government is calling on the gentle giants of the sea to take out pirate ships, and the whales are getting the job done.
Somali privateers operating in the Indian Ocean have been robbing trade ships in the region and taking hostages, sometimes with political overtones. Egypt has responded with an elite fighting force of ramming whales trained to neutralize the vessels through headlong collisions.
So far, the unit of whales—code-named Moby Hit—has successfully engaged Somali pirate ships on at least four occasions, although some information surrounding their operations remains classified. But it seems clear enough that the whales are unstoppable commandos of the deep.
“They’re not human!” wailed a captured Somali pirate, after an engagement that left his ship a wreck and his crew prisoners. “I mean, I know they’re not human, but like…I mean it in the superlative sense, like they’re not bound by human limitations.”
“It’s an expression,” the man intoned dully as he was led away by Egyptian authorities.
The whale trainers, a best-and-brightest team culled from marine parks all over the world, are as rigorous in their standards as they are unwavering in their pride.
“We expect a lot from our whales, and they never let us down,” said Dr. Ramon Gutierrez of Sea World in Orlando, Florida. He crouched over the tank holding the whales, absently feeding fish to his favorite as she splashed around excitedly before him. “It’s like I always say. You want to engage a shadowy, nationless enemy, you got to go with Dora. She’s a humpback, you know.”