An American ship hijacking by Somali pirates has occurred in the Indian ocean’s Gulf of Aden. Twenty Americans are now Somali pirate hostages. Breaking News: Wire reports are quoting the Pentagon, saying that the American crew has re-gained control of the hijacked ship, and over-powered the Somali pirates. See updates as they become available at end of this article.

American Ship Hijacking 26





American Ship Hijacking


A U.S. Department of Defense-contracted cargo flagship has been taken and twenty Americans are captured. The Maersk Alabama was carrying humanitarian relief supplies and bound for Mombasa, Kenya when it was hijacked. The names of American hostages have not been released. We will print the names of those being held as soon as they are available. View a picture of the Maersk A-Class ships here.

Where is our President and his spine-of-steel? These “pirates” live on shore and go to sea to go to work each day. The Somali coastline is about the length of our Eastern seaboard. We seemingly cannot catch the pirate ships at sea because they keep changing their flags. We need a multinational force to bomb the entire coastline. If they have no ships, these terrorists cannot set sail.

Reports are that pirates raked-in $80 million in ransom and cargo last year. Crews have died, been injured and surely terrorized. We need to bomb that coastline. How despicable is it that, in 2009, our shipping lines can be hijacked?

MSNBC is saying that “only eight ships had been hijacked in the busy Gulf of Aden” in the “first three months of 2009. That is how jaded we have become about terrorism and specifically about Muslim terrorism. Now we have another man-made disaster. Only eight ships in three months! We need to take-out every ship in their harbors without distinction. When non-pirate Somali’s lose their income, they’ll stop the pirating.

The same report says that the pirates “usually treat their hostages well…” No one should ever be held hostage, if something can be done about it, and we can do something about Somali pirates.

The U.S. Navy has confirmed the hijacked ship has twenty Americans aboard. The White House is “monitoring the situation.” U.S. Navy spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen said they have an area of “more than one million miles” to patrol – “we cannot be everywhere at every time,” he said.

On March 9th, the Department of Defense’s (DOD) head of African Affairs, Daniel Pike, spoke to a congressional panel. Pike said “the absence of a strong government in Somalia” is the problem. The general advice was to stay away from the dangerous areas.

The area of the hijacking was not where the usual patrolling-zone takes place. Lt. Christensen said. The vessel was not working under a Pentagon contract when it was hijacked. Allegedly, the crew radioed for help but the nearest ship U.S. ship was 345 miles away.

The Maersk Alabama is reportedly Danish-owned, U.S. operated, and under Department of Defense contract. It is the sixth ship to be seized this week, and the first with an all-American crew. Every time we parachute-drop millions of dollars onto the deck of a ship to free hostages, we enable the terrorists. We should take-out these ships while they are at dock.

Stand-by for the latest. Has the American ship regained control from the Somali pirates?

Update 4/8/09, 12:15 p.m. EST: The Pentagon is reporting that at least one pirate is under the control of the American crew. I’m hearing there were four pirates. Three are said to be “in the water.” The Pentagon has also said this is the first American Flagship crew held as hostage in 200 years. The CEO of the Maersk line will not confirm that the crew has regained the ship, preferring to be certain that his crew is safe before commenting. FOX is saying they heard from the father of one of the crew members, who said that the Americans are in control.

4/08/09, 12:30 p.m., EST: It is reported that the American crew has at least one of the pirates in captivity.

Update 4/8/09, approx. 2:00 p.m. EST: CNN spoke with First Mate Ken Quinn onboard the Maersk Alabama. Quinn said the Captain, Richard Phillips, convinced the pirates to vacate the ship using the ship’s 28′ lifeboat. The Telegraph reports that Quinn apparently offered himself as a prisoner, and the pirates took him up on his offer. This Captain is a hero and his held hostage by three terrorists.

Quinn said the crew had held one hostage on the ship for twelve hours, and then released him to the pirates in exchange for their Captains return (Captain Richard Phillips). The release did not happen. The ship is awaiting the arrival of help. Quinn said that the Captain has one of the ship’s radios with him and they are in-touch with him.

The Telegraph reports that the ship put out a distress call, and then attempted to evade the terrorists for 3-5 hours before being captured. According to this publication, the U.S. had between 5-10 “warships stationed off Somalia, alongside a NATO force of five vessels and an EU contingent with three frigates.”

According to Quinn, a coalition warship was about three hours away.

Update: 4/08/09, 5:15 p.m. View a video with First Mate Quinn speaking.

Update: 4/9/09, 10:15 a.m. EST: Reports are that the Maersk Alabama is now heading to Mombasa, Kenya, it’s original destination, with armed guards onboard. There are no new reports on Captain Richard Phillips’ whereabouts. The Maersk Alabama has asked the U.S. Navy to stand-down as the company attempts to negotiate for Phillips’ release.

Update: 4/10/09, early morning report: Captain Phillips attempted to escape this morning by jumping overboard. He didn’t make it and is back in the lifeboat with the terrorists. FOX is reporting that one of the pirates “fired an automatic weapon as Phillips tried to swim to safety.

In the meantime, a U.S. warship sits somewhere nearby and others are on their way. But…guess who else joining the gathering? “Pirate reinforcements” with their recent “hostages” are “rushing” to the scene as well.

Update: 4/10/09 1:00 p.m. EST: Reuters is just reporting, that according to their “pirate sources” a ransom demand has been made of $2 million in exchange for Captain Phillips, as well as free passage to safety for the terrorists.

Photo Credit: Global Security