[UPDATES AT END]
Some of you may have noted that the Danish-owned, US flagged container vessel Maersk Alabama has been boarded by Somali pirates (Source: al-Reuters, 08 APR 2009) with 20 American crew on-board:
In Washington, White House staff were closely monitoring the situation and assessing what steps to take.
"Our top priority is the personal safety of the crew members on board," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
Among the ship's cargo were 400 containers of food aid, including 232 containers belonging to the U.N.'s World Food Program that were 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.
This is an attack to gain attention and cash for holding up humanitarian supplies.
This is also the third attack since this weekend and there have been eight other attacks in the first three months of this year. Attacks are not limited to US flagged vessels, and the gamut of those that have been seized or attacked includes such noteworthy Nations as France and Russia.
The crew has freed themselves and captured at least one of the pirates.
That is the example of how to do things: go against those who have reverted to the savage law of nature.
Our flagged vessels should not be unarmed, especially the officers and crew.
Some help from great men of the past will help: Mr. Winchester, Mr. Smith, Mr. Wesson, General Thompson...
No one should be unarmed against humans gone savage to their own ends.
We still don't know how they did it at this point, but that they did do so is without doubt.
My hat is off to the brave crew of the Maersk Alabama.
You are a beacon of what liberty is and that it needs to be defended.
UPDATE via Ace of Spades HQ
After taking one of the Pirates captive, the others escaped in a lifeboat that was unfueled from the Maersk Alabama and they had the Captain Richard Phillips of the ship hostage. An attempted hostage deal found the Pirates reneging on the deal, thus still holding the Captain hostage.
The USS Bainbridge is on its way to set matters straight as an unpowered lifeboat can't go very far in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia.
Pirates are never to be trusted as they will do anything to gain any advantage for themselves.
My deepest hopes to the Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama, and my heartfelt support to his family, loved ones and fellow shipmates for his safe return.
The Pirates can rot in hell, trial is too good for them and they refused to surrender to civil authority in the form of Captain Phillips and the lawful crew of the ship.
[UPDATED 12 APR 2009 Easter Sunday]
Captain Phillips has been freed in a swift firefight today! (Source: Breitbart)
MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) - An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday in a U.S. Navy operation that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been
holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, a senior U.S.
intelligence official said.
One of the pirates was wounded and in custody after a swift firefight, the
Capt. Richard Phillips, 53, of Underhill, Vermont, was safely transported to
a Navy warship nearby.
The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on
condition of anonymity.
A government official and others in Somali with knowledge of the situation
had reported hours earlier that negotiations for Phillips' release had broken
The district commissioner of the central Mudug region said talks went on all
day Saturday, with clan elders from his area talking by satellite telephone and
through a translator with Americans, but collapsed late Saturday night.
Crew members said their ordeal had begun with the Somali pirates hauling
themselves up from a small boat bobbing on the surface of the Indian Ocean far
As the pirates shot in the air, Phillips told his crew to lock themselves in
a cabin and surrendered himself to safeguard his men, crew members said.
Phillips was then held hostage in an enclosed lifeboat that was closely
watched by U.S. warships and a helicopter in an increasingly tense standoff.
Talks to free him began Thursday with the captain of the USS Bainbridge
talking to the pirates under instruction from FBI hostage negotiators on board
the U.S. destroyer.
A statement from Maersk Line, owner of Phillips' ship, the Maersk Alabama,
said "the U.S. Navy had sight contact" of Phillips earlier Sunday—apparently
when the pirates opened the hatches.
Before Phillips was freed, a pirate who said he was associated with the gang
that held Phillips, Ahmed Mohamed Nur, told The Associated Press that the
pirates had reported that "helicopters continue to fly over their heads in the
daylight and in the night they are under the focus of a spotlight from a
He spoke by satellite phone from Harardhere, a port and pirate stronghold
where a fisherman said helicopters flew over the town Sunday morning and a
warship was looming on the horizon. The fisherman, Abdi Sheikh Muse, said that
could be an indication the lifeboat may be near to shore.
The U.S. Navy had assumed the pirates would try to get their hostage to
shore, where they can hide him on Somalia's lawless soil and be in a stronger
position to negotiate a ransom.
Three U.S. warships were within easy reach of the lifeboat on Saturday. The
pirates had threatened to kill Phillips if attacked.
On Friday, the French navy freed a sailboat seized off Somalia last week by
other pirates, but one of the five hostages was killed.
Early Saturday, the pirates holding Phillips in the lifeboat fired a few
shots at a small U.S. Navy vessel that had approached, a U.S. military official
said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the
The official said the U.S. sailors did not return fire, the Navy vessel
turned away and no one was hurt. He said the vessel had not been attempting a
rescue. The pirates are believed armed with pistols and AK-47 assault rifles.
Phillips jumped out of the lifeboat Friday and tried to swim for his freedom
but was recaptured when a pirate fired an automatic weapon at or near him,
according to U.S. Defense Department officials speaking on condition of
anonymity because they are not authorized to talk about the unfolding
My greatest and warmest thanks to the US Navy and my deep admiration at the pluck and courage of Captain Phillips!
All of them are a credit to the Nation.
Now, perhaps we can see if the Nation can be worthy of having such brave souls in it.