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Somali pirates hijack U.S.-flagged ship... Crew takes it back... Capt still hostage

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by JBond, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Somali pirates hijack U.S.-flagged ship...
    20 Americans aboard...

    By Daniel Wallis

    NAIROBI (Reuters) - Somali pirates hijacked a U.S.-flagged, Danish-owned container ship on Wednesday with 20 American crew on board in a major escalation in attacks at sea off the Horn of Africa nation, officials said.

    Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of the Mombasa-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Program, told Reuters the 17,000 ton Maersk Alabama had been seized off Mogadishu far out in the Indian Ocean, but all its crew were believed to be unharmed.

    Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk confirmed that the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama had been attacked by pirates about 500 km (300 miles) off Somalia and had probably been hijacked. The company said it had 20 American crew on board.

    A spokesman for the U.N.'s World Food Program (WFP) in Nairobi told Reuters that among the vessel's cargo were 232 containers of WFP relief food destined for Somalia and Uganda.

    In the latest wave of pirate attacks, gunmen from Somalia seized a British-owned ship on Monday after hijacking another three vessels over the weekend.

    In the first three months of 2009 just eight ships were hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea and is used by ships traveling between Europe and Asia.

    Last year, heavily armed Somali pirates hijacked dozens of vessels, took hundreds of sailors hostage -- often for weeks -- and extracted millions of dollars in ransoms.

    MORE ATTACKS

    Foreign navies rushed warships to the area in response and reduced the number of successful attacks. But there are still near-daily attempts and the pirates have also started hunting further afield near the Seychelles.

    On Monday, they hijacked a British-owned, Italian-operated ship with 16 Bulgarian crew on board.

    Over the weekend, they also seized a French yacht, a Yemeni tug and a 20,000-tonne German container vessel. Interfax news agency said the Hansa Stavanger had a German captain, three Russians, two Ukrainians and 14 Filipinos on board.

    The Maersk Alabama is owned and operated by Maersk Line Ltd, a Norfolk, Virginia-based subsidiary of A.P. Moller-Maersk and the world's biggest container shipper.

    A Moller-Maersk spokesman said it had been transporting general goods to Mombasa from Djibouti when it was attacked.

    The pirates typically launch speed boats from "mother ships," meaning they can sometimes evade warships patrolling the strategic shipping lanes and strike far out to sea.

    They then take captured vessels to remote coastal village bases in Somalia, where they have usually treated their hostages well in anticipation of a sizeable ransom payment.

    Pirates stunned the shipping industry last year when they seized a Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million worth of crude oil. The Sirius Star and its 25 crew members were freed in January after $3 million was parachuted onto its deck.

    Last September, they seized a Ukrainian cargo ship carrying 33 Soviet-era T-72 tanks and other heavy weapons. It was released in February, reportedly for a $3.2 million ransom.

    Many of the pirates are based in northern Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region, where the authorities called on Wednesday for more funds to tackle the gangs onshore.

    "It's better for the international community to give us $1 million to clear out the pirates on the ground, instead of paying millions of dollars to keep the warships at sea," Puntland's security minister, Abdullahi Said Samatar, told Reuters.
  2. TheCount

    TheCount Pixel Pusher

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    Can we actually start shooting these guys out of the water now? Please?
  3. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Did you notice the end of the article? Puntland's security minister wants the world to give him million bucks to "fix" the problem. I don't know anything about the guy, but he sounds like a pirate too.

    Send in the navy seals. I am definitely in favor of defending US flagged ships, but the rest of the world can pay for their own protection.
  4. masomenos

    masomenos Less is more

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    I hope we just destroy these guys.
  5. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Saw a special on this problem a few months ago. It is a complete mess due to territorial waters and those countries officials in charge of those areas being nothing but pirates or in collusion with the pirates.

    Real big problem that is getting worse all the time.

    You start to wonder that IF there is another attack that it might come from one of these big ships, carrying liquid explosives or fuel, getting hijacked and trying to ram into one of our port cities. (see Jbond, I too can get a case of the paranoia at times:cool: )

    I know the shipping companies don't want to shell out the money, but I think they are going to wind up having to shell out money for their own armed escort ships...if some do not already.
  6. Jon88

    Jon88 Benched

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    That's a nice round figure.
  7. Rogah

    Rogah Well-Known Member

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    If I was, like, Bill Gates rich, I would buy a luxury yacht and invite a couple dozen of my closest friends to sail around in these dangerous seas. I would also hire a couple dozen of the most highly trained ex-military special forces and arm them to the teeth with the best weaponry imaginable.

    So I would sail around trolling for these pirates and when we finally baited some into trying to board us, my own personal little army would start a-shootin'. I think it would be a great show for me and my guests. :D
  8. Denim Chicken

    Denim Chicken Well-Known Member

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    I work for a shipping company and can tell you that most have already been charging customers extra surcharges for cargo navigating the horn of Africa. These extra fees are passed down the line to consumers in the form of higher prices. It would be in everyone’s best interest if someone stopped these pirates.
  9. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    they should just load a container ship with nothing but gun-toting mercenaries

    "suprise *****es!" rat-a-tat-tat!
  10. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Maybe if Obama would just talk to them, they would change their barbaric ways.

    Tomas Jefferson had to deal with this same issue. We ended up giving them some war ships in exchange for a promise of peace. They promptly used those same ships against us. We then created what turned into our present day Navy to deal with them.
  11. Jon88

    Jon88 Benched

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    Well that was really stupid.

    Maybe Obama can give them some DVDs.
  12. Jon88

    Jon88 Benched

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    American Crew Takes Ship Back From Somali Pirates
    American Sailors Turn Table on Somali Pirates

    A crew of American sailors turned the tables on Somali pirates today who hijacked their ship after a high seas chase - and then were overpowered by the U.S. crew.

    Somalis take sailors hostage on cargo ship off the African coast.The pirates picked on the wrong ship when they went after the Maersk Alabama, a 17,000 ton container ship carrying relief aid to Mombasa, Kenya.

    They attacked the Alabama, formerly named the Maersk Alva, in the Indian Ocean about 300 miles from the Somali coast.

    The ship is crewed 20 Americans under the command of Capt. Richard Phillips of Underhill, Vt. Also on board is Capt. Capt. Shane Murphy, 34, the ship's chief officer, according to the Cape Cod Times. Both men are graduates of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Murphy's father, Capt. Joseph Murphy is a professor at the academy.

    The crew of the Alabama turned the pirate raid into a long running battle.

    A Defense Department official said when the pirates first tried to board the Alabama, the crew contacted the British Maritime Organization which advised the crew to take evasive action and turn their powerful firehoses on the pirates' skiff.

    The tactic succeeded in repelling the pirates and the Alabama broke away, the Defense official said.

    A five hour chase began before the pirates tried to board a second time. The crew again called the British Maritime Organization during a 15 minute struggle with the pirates. No weapons were involved, the official said.

    The call to the MTO ended when someone with a non-American accent yelled, "Put the phone down," and the line went dead, the official told ABC News.

    Four pirates were reported to be aboard the Alabama and they almost immediately demanded a ransom, although it was now known how much they want, the Defense official said.

    The ship was reported to be "dead in the water" and operating on auxiliary power. It had food and fuel for 30 to 45 days, indicating the neogitations could be a long haul, the official said. It wasn't such a long haul after all. Hours later reports came back that the crew was back in control of the Alabama.

    "It is our understanding that the crew is back in control of the ship," a Defense official told ABC News. The official said there were no reports of injuries.

    John Reinhart, president of Maersk Line Co., declined to confirm that the crew had taken the ship back.

    "We had a communication about an hour and a half ago from the vessel that said the crew was safe," he said about 12:15 p.m.

    He also said that the crew is unarmed and he did not expect them to battle pirates. 'It would be inapproriate for them to try to be heros. We want them to come home safely," Reinhart said.

    Before the ship was recaptured, the hijacking caused international alarm.
  13. Jon88

    Jon88 Benched

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    I can't wait to hear what happened. I hope they all got thrown in the water and their boat run over.
  14. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    [IMG]

    Not so fast, my friend...

    Link

    Officials: US vessel now back in hands of crew

    By PAULINE JELINEK
    Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP)
    - The crew of a U.S.-flag ship seized by pirates off Somalia has retaken the vessel, American officials said Wednesday, even as the national security establishment faced troubling questions about the hostage-taking at high sea.

    Capt. Joseph Murphy, an instructor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, told The Associated Press that his son Shane, the second in command on the ship, had called him to say the crew had regained control.

    The ship, captured by pirates near the coast of Somalia, apparently was the first such hostage-taking involving U.S. citizens in 200 years. In December 2008, Somali pirates chased and shot at a U.S. cruise ship with more than 1,000 people on board but failed to hijack the vessel.

    "The crew is back in control of the ship," a U.S. official said at midday, speaking on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak on the record. "It's reported that one pirate is on board under crew control—the other three were trying to flee," the official said. The status of the other pirates was unknown, the official said, but they were reported to "be in the water."

    The crew apparently contacted the private shipping that it works for. That company, Maersk, scheduled a noon news conference in Norfolk, Va, defense officials said.

    Another U.S. official, citing a readout from an interagency conference call, said: "Multiple reliable sources are now reporting that the Maersk Alabama is now under control of the U.S. crew. The crew reportedly has one pirate in custody. The status of others is unclear, they are believed to be in the water."

    Notwithstanding the reports of the crew securing the ship, the incident posed troubling questions for the young Obama administration in an era of terrorist threats.

    President Barack Obama's chief spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said before reports of the crew's safety that the White House was assessing a course of action. "Our top priority is the personal safety of the crew members on board," he said.

    Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said there had been no communications from the pirates for ransom. But he would not go into military plans.

    Joseph Murphy, an instructor at a maritime academy, told the Cape Cod newspaper that his son was well aware of the threat of pirates in the area and, while home on a visit only a few weeks ago, had talked with his class about the risk. "He knows the potential danger and he talked with my students about that," Murphy said. "He connected right away with the students."

    It was the sixth vessel seized within a week in the dangerous region around Africa, said Cmdr. Jane Campbell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet. She also said that it was the first pirate attack "involving U.S. nationals and a U.S.-flagged vessel in recent memory."

    Retired Navy Cmdr. Kirk Lippold, who was in charge of the USS Cole battleship when it was attacked by suicide bombers in 2000, said, "Although the United States and other nations are working in a loose coalition to prevent piracy, the dwindling number of ships in our Navy amplifies the impact of this menace."

    Lippold said the administration deserves praises for recommending more combat ships and unmanned aerial vehicles to help interdict this type of threat, but said the Navy "simply needs more ships and at a quicker rate than we are currently building or plan to build."

    "Only with a robust and capable Navy will the United States be able to defend our interests worldwide," said Lippold, now a senior military fellow at Military Families United, an advocacy organization for military families.

    The crew first reported being under attack, then said that pirates had already boarded the ship, according to "talking points" prepared by the U.S. government for briefing reporters about the situation.

    The hijacking came one day after international maritime officials issued a warning on the area.

    Following a series of attacks off the eastern coast of Somalia, the Combined Maritime Forces issued an advisory Wednesday highlighting several recent attacks that occurred hundreds of miles off the Somali coast and stating that merchant mariners should be increasingly vigilant when operating in those waters.

    "While the majority of attacks during 2008 and early 2009 took place in the Gulf of Aden, these recent attacks off the eastern coast of Somalia are not unprecedented," the advisory provided by Navy officials in Washington said. "An attack on the large crude tanker Sirius Star in November 2008 occurred more than 450 nautical miles off the southeast coast of Somalia."

    The advisory said the "scope and magnitude of problem cannot be understated."

    The nearest ship from the international coalition working against pirates in the region was hundreds of miles away from the Maersk Alabama.
  15. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Shut up and play! Staff Member

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    per Yahoo

    Pentagon says crew retakes US ship from pirates

    By Katharine Houreld, Associated Press Writer – 1 min ago

    NAIROBI, Kenya – Pentagon officials said Wednesday that the American crew of a U.S.-flagged cargo ship had retaken control from Somali pirates who hijacked the vessel far off the Horn of Africa.

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because information was still preliminary. But they said the hijacked crew had apparently contacted the private company that operates the ship.

    At a noon news conference, Maersk Line Ltd. CEO John Reinhart said that the company was working to contact families of the crew.

    "Speculation is a dangerous thing when you're in a fluid environment. I will not confirm that the crew has overtaken this ship," he said.

    Capt. Joseph Murphy, an instructor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, told The Associated Press that his son Shane, the second in command on the ship, had called him to say the crew had regained control.

    A U.S. official said the crew had retaken control and had one pirate in custody.

    "The crew is back in control of the ship," a U.S. official said at midday, speaking on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak on the record. "It's reported that one pirate is on board under crew control — the other three were trying to flee," the official said. The status of the other pirates was unknown, the official said, but they were reported to "be in the water."

    Another U.S. official, citing a readout from an interagency conference call, said: "Multiple reliable sources are now reporting that the Maersk Alabama is now under control of the U.S. crew. The crew reportedly has one pirate in custody. The status of others is unclear, they are believed to be in the water."

    The ship was carrying emergency relief to Mombasa, Kenya, when it was hijacked, said Peter Beck-Bang, spokesman for the Copenhagen-based container shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk.

    It was the sixth vessel seized within a week, a rise that analysts attribute to a new strategy by Somali pirates who are operating far from the warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden.

    Cmdr. Jane Campbell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said that it was the first pirate attack "involving U.S. nationals and a U.S.-flagged vessel in recent memory." She did not give an exact timeframe.

    The top two commanders of the ship graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the Cape Cod Times reported Wednesday.

    Andrea Phillips, the wife of Capt. Richard Phillips of Underhill, Vermont., said her husband has sailed in those waters "for quite some time" and a hijacking was perhaps "inevitable."

    The Cape Cod Times reported his second in command, Capt. Shane Murphy, was also among the 20 Americans aboard the Maersk Alabama.

    Joseph Murphy, a professor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, says his son is a 2001 graduate who recently talked to a class about the dangers of pirates.

    Somali pirates are trained fighters who frequently dress in military fatigues and use speedboats equipped with satellite phones and GPS equipment. They are typically armed with automatic weapons, anti-tank rocket launchers and various types of grenades. Far out to sea, their speedboats operate from larger mother ships.

    The U.S. Navy said that the ship was hijacked early Wednesday about 280 miles (450 kilometers) southeast of Eyl, a town in the northern Puntland region of Somalia.

    U.S. Navy spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen said the closest U.S. ship at the time of the hijacking was 345 miles (555 kilometers)away.

    The International Maritime Bureau says 260 crew on 14 hijacked ships are being held off the coast of Somalia, including the U.S.-flagged ship seized Wednesday, the Maersk Alabama and its crew of 20 U.S. nationals.

    The Combined Maritime Forces issued an advisory Wednesday highlighting several recent attacks that occurred hundreds of miles off the Somali coast and stating that merchant mariners should be increasingly vigilant when operating in those waters.

    The advisory said the "scope and magnitude of problem cannot be understated."

    Douglas J. Mavrinac, the head of maritime research at investment firm Jefferies & Co., noted that it is very unusual for an international ship to be U.S.-flagged and carry a U.S. crew. Although about 95 percent of international ships carry foriegn flags because of the lower cost and other factors, he said, ships that are operated by or for the U.S. government — such a food aid ships like Maersk Alabama — have to carry U.S. flags, and therefore, employ a crew of U.S. citizens.

    There are fewer than 200 U.S.-flagged vessels in international waters, said Larry Howard, chair of the Global Business and Transportation Department at SUNY Maritime College in New York.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Barbara Surk in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Pauline Jelinek in Washington; Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen; Samantha Bomkamp in New York; and Tom Maliti and Anita Powell in Nairobi, Kenya contributed to this report.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/piracy
  16. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    That's cool.
  17. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    No more appeasement

    By Joseph Farah
    © 2009 WorldNetDaily.com





    Most Americans probably think the Islamic terrorists declared war on the United States Sept. 11, 2001.

    Actually, it started a long time before – right from the birth of the nation.

    In 1784, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were commissioned by the first Congress to assemble in Paris to see about marketing U.S. products in Europe.

    Jefferson quickly surmised that the biggest challenge facing U.S. merchant ships were those referred to euphemistically as "Barbary pirates."

    They weren't "pirates" at all, in the traditional sense, Jefferson noticed. They didn't drink and chase women and they really weren't out to strike it rich. Instead, their motivation was strictly religious. They bought and sold slaves, to be sure. They looted ships. But they used their booty to buy guns, ships, cannon and ammunition.

    Like those we call "terrorists" today, they saw themselves engaged in jihad and called themselves "mujahiddin."

    Why did these 18th-century terrorists represent such a grave threat to U.S. merchant ships? With independence from Great Britain, the former colonists lost the protection of the greatest navy in the world. The U.S. had no navy – not a single warship.

    Jefferson inquired of his European hosts how they dealt with the problem. He was stunned to find out that France and England both paid tribute to the fiends – who would, in turn, use the money to expand their own armada, buy more weaponry, hijack more commercial ships, enslave more innocent civilians and demand greater ransom.

    This didn't make sense to Jefferson. He recognized the purchase of peace from the Muslims only worked temporarily. They would always find an excuse to break an agreement, blame the Europeans and demand higher tribute.

    After three months researching the history of militant Islam, he came up with a very different policy to deal with the terrorists. But he didn't get to implement until years later.

    As the first secretary of state, Jefferson urged the building of a navy to rescue American hostages held in North Africa and to deter future attacks on U.S. ships. In 1792, he commissioned John Paul Jones to go to Algiers under the guise of diplomatic negotiations, but with the real intent of sizing up a future target of a naval attack.

    Jefferson was ready to retire a year later when what could only be described as "America's first Sept. 11" happened.

    America was struck with its first mega-terror attack by jihadists. In the fall of 1793, the Algerians seized 11 U.S. merchant ships and enslaved more than 100 Americans.

    When word of the attack reached New York, the stock market crashed. Voyages were canceled in every major port. Seamen were thrown out of work. Ship suppliers went out of business. What Sept. 11 did to the U.S. economy in 2001, the mass shipjacking of 1793 did to the fledgling U.S. economy in that year.

    Accordingly, it took the U.S. Congress only four months to decide to build a fleet of warships.

    But even then, Congress didn't choose war, as Jefferson prescribed. Instead, while building what would become the U.S. Navy, Congress sent diplomats to reason with the Algerians. The U.S. ended up paying close to $1 million and giving the pasha of Algiers a new warship, "The Crescent," to win release of 85 surviving American hostages.

    It wasn't until 1801, under the presidency of Jefferson, that the U.S. engaged in what became a four-year war against Tripoli. And it wasn't until 1830, when France occupied Algiers, and later Tunisia and Morocco, that the terrorism on the high seas finally ended.

    France didn't leave North Africa until 1962 – and it quickly became a major base of terrorism once again.

    What's the moral of the story? Appeasement never works. Jefferson saw it. Sept. 11 was hardly the beginning. The war in which we fight today is the longest conflict in human history. It's time to learn from history, not repeat its mistakes.
  18. Jon88

    Jon88 Benched

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    According to Fox News, all the crew members are trained in security detail in how to deal with piracy.
  19. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    I would hope that's part of the job training, considering where they were located.
  20. sacase

    sacase Well-Known Member

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    Here is a funny but true story. In a previous life I used to work closely with different members of the Federal Law Enforcement community. About once a week this DEA agent would come over to the office for some information exchanges. Anyways, he was telling us about a DEA operation over in Thailand where they were using a Yacht as a floating base. Anways, some Thai pirates saw the yacht and thought it was some rich white people (the image the DEA wanted everyone to think.) Well the pirates came over and tried to board the yacht but quicly found out that there were a bunch of heavily armed DEA agents aboard. To make a long story short the DEA sunk the pirates boat and none of the pirates survived the encounter.

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