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Maersk Alabama attacked by pirates

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Guest LAW_*

We are able to confirm that the crew of the Maersk Alabama is now in control of the ship. The armed hijackers who boarded this ship earlier today have departed, however they are currently holding one member of the ship's crew as a hostage. The other members of the crew are safe and no injuries have been reported. We are working closely with the U.S. military and other government agencies to continue to respond to this situation as it develops further and will provide additional information as we are able.

 

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This morning, at around 05.00 UTC, Maersk Alabama, a 1,100 TEU container vessel, was attacked by pirates and presumed hijacked. The US flagged vessel has a crew of 20 US nationals and is owned and operated by Maersk Line, Limited in the US.

 

The vessel is deployed in Maersk Line's East Africa service network and was enroute to Mombasa, when it was attacked approximately 500 kilometres of the Somalia coast. Our initial concern is to ensure proper support of the crew and assistance to their families.

 

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Maersk Alabama fact sheet

 

Owned and operated by Maersk Line, Limited (http://www.maersklinelimited.com)

Capacity: 1,100 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit)

Geared: Yes, two cranes

Length: 155 meters

Width: 25 meters

Deadweight: 17,525 tonnes

Service speed: +18 knots

Build year: 1998

Built in: Taiwan

Flag: US

Home port: Norfolk, VA.

 

Maersk Alabama is deployed in Maersk Line’s EAF4 (East Africa 4) service. The rotation is Salalah, Djibouti, Mombasa.

 

Maersk Alabama is carrying 400 twenty-foot containers of food aid for amongst others WFP (World Food Programme).

 

General

 

In the East Africa trades, Maersk Line transports aid cargo such as vegetable oil, bulgur and general cargo (such as electronics, textiles, cars, etc.).

 

Maersk Line has 4 services to/from East Africa, connecting to Maersk Line’s global network via Salalah, Oman.

 

Maersk Line has been present in East Africa in more than 20 years.

 

Please contact Maersk Line Limited for further press inquiries:

 

Maersk Line Limited (switchboard): + 1 757 857 4800

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Guest Trudy Perkins

Today, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, released the following statement in response to the seizure this morning of the U.S.-flagged container ship, Maersk Alabama, which was carrying relief cargo to Kenya for the United Nations; 21 Americans who were on board the ship are currently being held hostage:

 

“My deepest thoughts and prayers go out to the crew of the Maersk Alabama, as well as their families, as they endure this difficult time. It is my hope that this situation will be resolved as quickly and as safely as possible, and the DOD has my full support and confidence in its ability to handle this delicate situation.

 

“Piracy in the high seas is a very serious problem that threatens the lives of innocent mariners and poses a challenge to the shipping industry during a deepening economic recession. With more than 50 pirate attacks this year off the Somali coast—including at least six commercial vessels this past week alone—it is clear that the problem is rapidly getting worse.

 

“The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy have been crucial in preventing and intervening in pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa, as have the contributions of the international community to patrol this region. Unfortunately, the pirates have responded by adapting to the heightened security, spreading their range to extend further out to sea.

 

“I convened a hearing in February to examine international piracy on the high seas, which reaffirmed the complexity of this issue. Even with the best system in place to capture and detain pirates, we will never fully be able to eradicate piracy if we ignore the underlying problems leading individuals down this road. We absolutely must unite as an international community to help bring stability to Somalia, where political and economic conditions have fueled the increase in pirate attacks in the Horn of Africa region.

 

“We cannot allow our focus to shift away from the critical importance of combating piracy after the Maersk Alabama incident is resolved and its crew has safely returned home. Although this is the first U.S.-flagged ship to be seized by pirates, the threat of future attacks will remain as long as the problems in the Horn of Africa continue to fester.”

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Guest Jerry Gilmore

A ship taken by pirates off the coast of Somalia April 8 is now presumed to be under the control of its crew again, Defense Department officials said.

 

The cargo ship Maersk Alabama was attacked by pirates early this morning and presumed hijacked, according to information provided by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. The vessel was en route to Mombasa, Kenya, when it was assaulted about 300 miles off Somalia's coast, officials said.

 

The Maersk Alabama is homeported in Norfolk, Va., and has a crew of about 20 U.S. nationals, John Reinhart, president and CEO, Maersk Line Ltd., told reporters.

 

Reinhart said his company is contacting the crew's family members. He declined to confirm the ship's retaking by its crew or to release the names of crew members.

 

The Maersk Alabama's crew members were trained to deal with pirate attacks, Reinhart said.

 

Pentagon officials noted there were four would-be hijackers, at least one of whom was captured by the ship's crew.

 

Pirates who attack merchant ships traveling off the coast of Somalia are difficult to deter because of the large area in which they operate, according to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

 

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters that he didn't want to comment on possible actions that could be taken in response to the Maersk Alabama's apparent hijacking.

 

However, Whitman said the piracy issue "is not going to be something that is solved in a purely military way or in international waters."

 

"This is going to have to be something that is addressed broadly by the international community," Whitman continued, "It's going to have to be addressed diplomatically, militarily [and] legally."

 

The complexity of the piracy issue requires taking "a very broad approach to addressing it," Whitman added.

 

Pirates operating off the coast of Somalia have attacked five vessels over the past week, according to news reports, not including today's attack on the Maersk Alabama.

 

Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of Combined Maritime Forces based in Bahrain that oversees antipiracy efforts in the region, provided an updated advisory notice to regional merchant shipping in a news release issued April 7.

 

"We synchronize the efforts of the naval forces deployed to the region," Gortney said in the release. "However, as we have often stated, international naval forces alone will not be able to solve the problem of piracy at sea."

 

Piracy "is a problem that starts ashore," Gortney added.

 

And, despite the increased naval presence in the region, Gortney's notice said because of an area of water that's four times the size of Texas, ships and aircraft are unlikely to be close enough to provide support to vessels under attack.

 

In view of the pirates' activity, merchant mariners should be highly vigilant when traveling through Somalia's coastal region, the release stated.

 

The release noted that a number of merchant vessels transiting the waters off Somalia have successfully employed evasive maneuvers and other defensive tactics to thwart attempted pirate attacks.

 

For example, a Panamanian-flagged vessel employed evasive maneuvers and fire hoses to thwart an attempted pirate attack, according to the release.

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"The release noted that a number of merchant vessels transiting the waters off Somalia have successfully employed evasive maneuvers and other defensive tactics to thwart attempted pirate attacks.

 

For example, a Panamanian-flagged vessel employed evasive maneuvers and fire hoses to thwart an attempted pirate attack, according to the release."

 

If the pirates are coming after massive container ships in small (sometimes inflatable) motor boats, IMHO, I think machine guns pointed in the direction of the pirates (with maybe a few warning shots fired into their boat) would be a very effective deterrent.

 

How is it every loon in the USA has an AK-47 (or AR-15 or Armalite, etc.) but people who ACTUALLY could use one in a defensive situation don't?

 

Will someone please clue me in to what I'm missing?

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Guest Human_*

I agree, I would hit the Pirates with cocktail bombs "Just to light up their lives".

 

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"The release noted that a number of merchant vessels transiting the waters off Somalia have successfully employed evasive maneuvers and other defensive tactics to thwart attempted pirate attacks.

 

For example, a Panamanian-flagged vessel employed evasive maneuvers and fire hoses to thwart an attempted pirate attack, according to the release."

 

If the pirates are coming after massive container ships in small (sometimes inflatable) motor boats, IMHO, I think machine guns pointed in the direction of the pirates (with maybe a few warning shots fired into their boat) would be a very effective deterrent.

 

How is it every loon in the USA has an AK-47 (or AR-15 or Armalite, etc.) but people who ACTUALLY could use one in a defensive situation don't?

 

Will someone please clue me in to what I'm missing?

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Guest Jim Garamone

Somali pirates fired on a U.S.-flagged merchant vessel south of the Gulf of Aden today, military officials reported.

Pirates attacked the motor vessel Liberty Sun with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. The crew put out a distress call received by the U.S. Coast Guard.

 

“The pirates were not successful in their attempt to board the vessel,” said Navy Lt. Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the Navy’s 5th Fleet in Bahrain. “The USS Bainbridge, [which] was in the general vicinity, responded to ensure Liberty Sun wasn’t in peril.” The pirates had fled by the time the Bainbridge arrived.

 

The USS Bainbridge was involved in the rescue of Merchant Marine Capt. Richard Phillips, the master of the Maersk-Alabama, hijacked by pirates April 8. Pirates had been holding Phillips captive aboard a lifeboat.

 

When the Bainbridge arrived, the crew ascertained the Liberty Sun was safe and transferred a security detail aboard the merchant vessel, a Defense Department public affairs spokesman said. About 20 U.S. citizens make up the Liberty Sun’s crew. The ship is carrying food aid from World Food, CARE, World Vision and the Agricultural Cooperative Development International.

 

The Liberty Sun will continue to its original destination of Mombasa, Kenya, the spokesman said. The Bainbridge mission to the Liberty Sun will delay Phillips’ return to the United States. He was to join his crew in Mombasa for their flight to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., the spokesman explained, but now will travel separately.

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