The New York Times blog reports on the Chinese government’s assertion that a school of dolphins helped prevent an attack by pirates on a Chinese merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden:
It has to be said that none of the photographs actually shows the boats said to contain Somali pirates being blocked by the dolphins, but Xinhua reported news of the dolphin intervention as fact. Xinhua’s English-language report, about a group of merchant ships escorted through the dangerous waters by vessels from the Chinese navy, contains some translation errors, but describes the efforts of the newest members of the anti-piracy coalition in glowing, even poetic, detail:
The Chinese merchant ships escorted by a China’s fleet sailed on the Gulf of Aden when they met some suspected pirate ships. Thousands of dolphins suddenly leaped out of water between pirates and merchants when the pirate ships headed for the China’s.
The suspected pirates ships stopped and then turned away. The pirates could only lament their littleness befor the vast number of dolphins. The spectacular scene continued for a while.
Xinhua does not suggest that the cetacean force may have been part of a classified military program, but given that we know that the United States military has at least tried to train dolphins to work for the government, The Lede is not yet willing to rule out the possibility.