While the effects are not permanent, the light should leave pirates at least wishing they had worn an eyepatch or two: from as far away as 1500 metres the effect of looking at the beam is like accidentally looking at the sun, says Hore.
"Sunglasses wouldn't help," he says – in fact, wearing them would only exacerbate the effect. That's because the glasses would not affect the green laser light – chosen because that colour is particularly irritating – but the laser would appear even brighter contrasted against the darkened background.
"It's a warning shot," says Hore. "[The pirates] are looking for targets of opportunity," he says.
The metre-wide beam can target the entire vessel and its crew. "They tend to be 6-metre skiffs," says Hore, so the beam can be scanned across the entire vessel. This would make it difficult for the attackers to target their weapons, which are usually AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, he says.
Ruby Quartz should stop that beam in it's tracks!