In the battle against the ruthlessly violent pirates infesting the waters around the Horn of Africa, US crews have discovered a novel way to ward of any imminent attacks. Water pistols? Sharks? Sharks with water pistols?! Nope, it has been revealed that the navy's secret weapon when it comes to getting rid of pirates is a bit of all-American sugar pop, courtesy of Ms. Britney Spears.

Britney Spears Jimmy Kimmel
Britney Spears Songs Used To Scare Away Pirates.

She may have had hits including 'Toxic' and '(You Drive Me) Crazy' but Britney could have never imagined that her songs would finally be put to good use repelling pirates from large cargo ships. Apparently, the two favourites to play - or not, if you're a pirate - are 'Oops! I Did It Again' and 'Baby One More Time,' arguably Spears' most well-known tracks.

After 176 bandit attacks occurred on ships off the coast of Somalia in 2011, the supertankers' security teams began to devise a plan to make sure the robbers didn't even come close. The Royal Navy launched 14 warships with 1,500 officers into the area but in the face of the constant nautical onslaught, a silver bullet was needed.

Britney Spears
"Yo, Back Off Pirates!"

"[Britney's] songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them most," explained Second Officer Rachel Owens, who works on supertankers off the east coast of Africa, via Metro. "These guys can't stand Western culture or music, making Britney's hits perfect," she added.

But doesn't the constantly Britney-blaring make for an equally disgruntled and sleepless crew? Apparently not: according to Owens, the speakers can be directly solely towards any approaching pirates so as not to disturb the crew. "It's so effective the ship's security rarely needs to resort to firing guns," she marvelled.

Britney Spears X Factor
The Navy's Secret Weapon.

When pirates are so frequently motivated by overwhelming poverty or debts, this news may seem a little dubious, raising questions as to how something so frivolous can be so effective. "As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can," says Owens.

Steven Jones, of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, concurs: "Pirates will go to any lengths to avoid or try to overcome the music." He joked, "I'd imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention.'

Just doing yer bit, eh Britters?