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Thread: American's regain control of hijacked vessel

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    Default American's regain control of hijacked vessel

    American crew members aboard a U.S.-flagged ship hijacked by Somali pirates Wednesday were able to regain control of the vessel, but a crew member is still being held hostage, FOX News confirms.

    U.S. officials said American warships are steaming toward the hijack scene. U.S. Navy officials told FOX News Wednesday afternoon that its closest ship was 300 miles away, which would place it 15 hours from the vessel.

    A defense official said the Maersk Alabama's captain is being held captive on board a lifeboat belonging to the ship, but a crew member would only say that a shipmate was being held, and would not confirm whether it was the ship's captain. Four pirates are in the lifeboat and according to the official there is no clear evidence that a pirate remains captive with the U.S. crew.

    "We are able to confirm that the crew of the Maersk Alabama is now in control of the ship," said Kevin Speers, a spokesman for Maersk Lines Limited. "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."

    Speaking on the ship's satellite phone, one of the 20 crew members said they had been taken hostage but managed to seize one pirate and then successfully negotiate their own release. He said negotiations are under way for the crew member's release.

    "All the crew members are trained in security detail in how to deal with piracy," Maersk CEO John Reinhart told reporters. "As merchant vessels we do not carry arms. We have ways to push back, but we do not carry arms."

    John Harris, CEO of HollowPoint Security Services, which specializes in maritime security, said that the crew's overtaking the pirates could help prevent future hijackings, especially since the military can't protect the entire high seas.

    "Any time you can get intel from them, they can give you any kind of significant information, they more than likely will not, but anything we can get will always help us in the future," Harris told FOX News.

    "Naval vessels ... can't be everywhere at one time, just like law enforcement," he said, noting that the U.S. Navy has been protecting the most vulnerable shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean.

    "If you saturate an area long enough in the shipping lanes, if you saturate it with war ships long enough, they venture out. In this case that's what they did. They want 350 miles out of the coast where no Naval vessels were present," he said.

    Click here for photos.
    As for the boldness of the pirates taking a ship operating under a U.S. flag, Harris said pirates don't care which ship they grab.
    "We have not seen it matters at all. This is a business to them. They are not intended on carrying what cargo we're carrying. All they want to do is see a dollar figure. They know if they catch a big ship, they get big money. All they want is ransom out of this. They are not worried about crew or cargo," Harris said.

    Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman said earlier Wednesday he has "no information to suggest the 20 crew members of the Maersk Alabama have been harmed by the pirates."

    During its one communication with the ship, Maersk was told the crew was safe, Reinhart said. He would not release the names of the crew members.

    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."

    Wednesday's incident 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 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, Vt., 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.
    Capt. 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.

    The newspaper reported the 33-year-old Murphy had phoned his mother to say he was safe.
    The 17,000-ton Maersk Alabama was carrying emergency relief to Mombasa, Kenya, at the time it was hijacked, for the Copenhagen-based container shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk.

    Robert A. Wood, Deputy State Department Spokesman, told reporters the ship was carrying "vegetable oil, corn soy blend and other basic food commodities bound for Africa."

  2. #2

    Default Re: American's regain control of hijacked vessel

    Wow, I am glad they were able to retake the ship. I hope the Captain can be successfully freed.

  3. #3

    Default Re: American's regain control of hijacked vessel

    I'd imagine he will be fine.. they'll end up paying a price for the captain rather than the ship, so it will likely be less than they would have had to pay. If the US warships get there before Maersk makes a deal they might get out of the situation unscathed. If it ends up being a discounted bounty as a result of a well run crew Maersk probably should donate to the crew's children's college funds.

  4. #4

    Default Re: American's regain control of hijacked vessel

    Quote Originally Posted by Schlottke View Post
    I'd imagine he will be fine.. they'll end up paying a price for the captain rather than the ship, so it will likely be less than they would have had to pay. If the US warships get there before Maersk makes a deal they might get out of the situation unscathed. If it ends up being a discounted bounty as a result of a well run crew Maersk probably should donate to the crew's children's college funds.
    That part of the world is scary....I wonder what steps should be taken to prevent this from happening as much as it does.

    I don't have the answer but would be interested in hearing others opinions on it.

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    Default Re: American's regain control of hijacked vessel

    Quote Originally Posted by Chance174 View Post
    That part of the world is scary....I wonder what steps should be taken to prevent this from happening as much as it does.

    I don't have the answer but would be interested in hearing others opinions on it.
    A few 50 MM on deck ought to do it. Ask questions later.
    Life's not the breaths you take, the breathing in and out that gets you through the day ain't what it's all about. It's the moments that take your breath away.

  6. #6

    Default Re: American's regain control of hijacked vessel

    Quote Originally Posted by RYou View Post
    A few 50 MM on deck ought to do it. Ask questions later.
    That is all it'd take. Get a taped message that says, "We are an armed, merchant vessel flying under the ___ Flag. If you do not move away immediately we will open fire" in a few different languages over your loud speaker. Shoot some warning shots off and attempt to evade them as long as you can, but being completely unarmed is just crazy if you're in that area.

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    Default Re: American's regain control of hijacked vessel

    NBC put together the time and the details.

    Wednesday, April 8
    The Maersk Alabama is hijacked by four Somali pirates. The U.S. destroyer Bainbridge, 300 miles away, heads in that direction. Military officials tell NBC News that officials with the Maersk shipping company informed the U.S. Navy they wanted no military intervention, they wanted to negotiate, pay a ransom and be on their way. Senior military officials informed the White House this would not require a military response but the Bainbridge continued in that direction.

    Thursday, April 9
    Bainbridge arrives in the vicinity of Maersk Alabama as the situation turned ugly and the four pirates took Captain Richards hostage in a lifeboat. The skipper aboard the Bainbridge realized he didn't have the "assets" necessary to handle a hostage situation and informed his superiors he needed the skills that Navy SEALS could bring to the fight.

    Friday, April 10
    Captain Phillips jumped into the sea in an attempt to escape his pirate captors, but the Bainbridge was a mile away from the lifeboat at the time and had no special operations forces in the water or the air that could have helped Phillips escape.

    The nearest Navy SEAL team was on a training mission in Kenya. In military legalese, that SEAL team was considered an "EXTREMIS NATIONAL ASSET," which meant it would require presidential authority to pull the SEALS out of Kenya. Military officials went to the White House to brief national security officials and within "a couple of hours" President Obama signed off on the order to deploy the Navy SEALS, who were airdropped into the water and taken onto the Bainbridge

    Friday night Somalia time: The President also gave the SEALS the authority to use "lethal force" to rescue Captain Philliips if it was determined his life was in "imminent danger."

    By late Friday it was determined the specialized more advance skillsets of SEAL TEAM SIX, (the Navy's equivalent of DELTA FORCE), now known as the DEVELOPMENT GROUP were needed and planning began to deploy them from Little Creek, Virginia to the Indian Ocean.

    At the same time, the hostage rescue operation was officially designated a "COUNTER-TERRORISM OPERATION," which allowed the White House and the military to cut through the usual red tape that exists in combining military and law enforcement operations.

    The White House and military also laid out the three primary objectives of the mission:
    1) try to negotiate for the peaceful release of hostage Captain Phillips.
    2) keep the lifeboat from reaching the Somali shore.
    3) use lethal force if the Captain's life is in imminent danger.

    Saturday, April 11
    The military sought and President Obama immediately granted the request and authority for SEAL TEAM SIX to use "lethal force" if it was determined Captain Phillips life was in danger. SEAL TEAM SIX was airdropped into the water at night and taken aboard the Bainbridge.

    Sunday, April 12
    At 7:19 pm Somalia time, three Navy snipers from SEAL TEAM SIX, lying prone on the fan-tail of the Bainbridge, fired three precision and simultaneous shots that instantly killed the three remaining pirates holding Captain Phillips hostage aboard the lifeboat.
    Life's not the breaths you take, the breathing in and out that gets you through the day ain't what it's all about. It's the moments that take your breath away.

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