Somali pirates seize American ship, crew; Update: Crew overpowered pirates

posted at 9:28 am on April 8, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The issue of piracy in the Gulf of Aden hit home for Americans today.  A US-flagged ship and 21 Americans on board got taken by Somalia-based pirates.  The US Navy confirmed the attack this morning (via Mitch Berg):

The Kenya-based diplomat identified the vessel as the 17,000-ton Maersk Alabama and said all the crew members are American. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The U.S. Navy confirmed that a U.S. flagged ship with 21 members of crew was hijacked early Wednesday off the eastern coast of Somalia.

Spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen said the attacked happened in the early hours of the morning hours, about 280 miles (450 kilometers) northeast of Eyl, a town in the northern Puntland region of Somalia.

Mitch scornfully refers to this as a “new chance for dialogue”.  What would Janet Napolitano call it?  A stowaway problem?  On-demand course correction?

The Somali pirates have operated in this region for a few years.  Thus far, the world has seemed disinclined to put pressure on the pirates of Aden Gulf, despite the headlines they have grabbed lately.  The US Navy now has an entree into the fight, and it will be interesting to see how the Obama administration reacts.  The US has downlook satellites and a treasure trove of assets with which they can track down the Maersk Alabama and its crew.

Will Obama use that to send the pirates a message about attacking American shipping?  Or will this be a “new chance for dialogue”?

Update: Score one for American merchant marines!  The Maersk Alabama is back under the crew’s control, as the Boss notes in her updates:

American crewmen have regained control of a hijacked U.S.-flagged cargo ship off the coast of Africa, according to CBS News. …

Late Wednesday morning, military sources told CBS News that the crew has regained control of the vessel by overpowering the pirates, taking one pirate into custody and throwing three overboard.

Hopefully they dropped some chum into the water to signal the sharks.  Kick ass, Maersk Alabama!


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He was all three.

Bonus: Terry Nichols is an even better Christian. Yep. Born Again!

capitulus on April 9, 2009 at 3:05 PM

It is a fact that 80% of all liberals are closet pedophiles and the other 20% are proudly open about it.

YES WE CAN!

ClassicCon on April 9, 2009 at 3:32 PM

capitulus on April 9, 2009 at 3:05 PM

How do you feel about muslims?

Johan Klaus on April 9, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Guest1.1 on April 9, 2009 at 3:31 PM

I agree, it should be advantage USA but you just never know. I am keeping good thoughts and lots of prayers.

Cindy Munford on April 9, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Johan Klaus on April 9, 2009 at 3:40 PM

I have no use for zealots of any stripe. While the Muslim ones are currently the most militant and dangerous the flat-earth Christian types with their 5,000 year old earth nonsense are far more comical.

Remember, Terry Nichols is a Born Again Christian. Hallelujah!!

capitulus on April 9, 2009 at 3:48 PM

Johan: Hitler hated both mainstream Christians and Jews … he was on good terms with Islam … gee … what other world leader has similar attitudes?

Kristopher on April 9, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Hmmmm … 50 years from now, I expect there will be an Obama corollary to Godwin’s Law …

Kristopher on April 9, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Hillary spoke about an hour ago, this time taking care not to break out into uproarious laughter as she discussed the piracy issue. She declared that she is watching the situation closely to make sure nobody dies and they want an international resolution and want to know what other countries can do.

KittyLowrey on April 9, 2009 at 4:47 PM

He was all three.

Bonus: Terry Nichols is an even better Christian. Yep. Born Again!

capitulus on April 9, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Ahem:
Remember folks, don’t let other people put labels on McVeigh, let him speak for himself.

[b]Was Timothy McVeigh a Christian?[/b]
In his letter, McVeigh said he was an agnostic but that he would “improvise, adapt and overcome”, if it turned out there was an afterlife

[b]Was Timothy McVeigh a Republican?[/b]
McVeigh self-identified as a libertarian in a statement that was reported by MSNBC.com and The Washington Post; and in 1996, while in federal prison, he voted for Libertarian candidate Harry Browne in the United States presidential election, 1996.

[b]Was Timothy McVeigh a member of the NRA?[/b]
He also quit the NRA, viewing its stance on gun rights to be too weak.

Religious_Zealot on April 9, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Last I heard was when Rahm told Zero that the Pirates were gaining points he immediately sent Hillary to Pittsburgh.

viking01 on April 9, 2009 at 5:17 PM

My guess is that Obama will have the pirates flown home with cash and an apology, have the crewmen arrested, and extradited to Somalia to get a fair trial in a sharia court.

Kristopher on April 9, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Worse, at the news conference the word is that he has be appraised of the situation, he has had no input, and no comment.

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
Theodore Roosevelt

right2bright on April 9, 2009 at 5:17 PM

I listened to hilary cackle madly as she discussed an American being held by pirates.

Total disgrace

Im starting to hate them….

Sonosam on April 9, 2009 at 5:25 PM

THIS I would love to watch!! From NST.

A commander from the group of pirates who took the ship said more pirates were on their way to try and help those holding the hostage, who are effectively surrounded.

“We are planning to reinforce our colleagues who told us that a navy ship was closing in on them and I hope the matter will soon be solved,” Abdi Garad told AFP by phone from the northern pirate lair of Eyl.

“They are closely monitored by a navy ship and I think it will be difficult for us to reach the area promptly,” he said, with US helicopters swirling the area.

“But we are making final preparations and will try our best to save our friends .”

fred5678 on April 9, 2009 at 6:06 PM

fred5678 on April 9, 2009 at 6:06 PM

What an image, a few rust buckets storming to the rescue with our helicopters, and drones covering the area.
We may be able to get a couple of hundred of these pirates in one swoop.
Good idea pirates, come on in and “rescue” your fellow pirates…free beer and hamburgers for everyone.

right2bright on April 9, 2009 at 6:33 PM

Barney Frank has offered to substitute for the American Captain…stating “I have always wanted to be tied up by a bunch of pirates”.

right2bright on April 9, 2009 at 6:44 PM

I wondered about that but would they be comfortable making the shot when the water moving the lifeboat around?

Cindy Munford on April 9, 2009 at 2:36 PM

There is a way. Marines can do it. The issue is doing it without being seen. It would take 4 snipers all firing at a different pirate at the same instant. With the lifeboat acting as a tin can and the Bainbridge not being too steady herself it would most likely be deemed an unacceptable risk for life of the Captain. At night with night vision might be a better opportunity but still risky a head shot may not be achieved. Unless you are there it is unkonown if they are using the captain as a shield in some way. I’m hoping some miracle allows us to get the captain out alive then we blow the pirates out of the water with naval gunfire. It will give the pirates pause if they see another American ship at sea. The best deterent against these pirates is overwhelming force reigning down certain death upon the pirates. Then drop the bodies in modadishu with a message that next time, if we come back, you’re all going to die.

kanda on April 9, 2009 at 6:58 PM

kanda on April 9, 2009 at 6:58 PM

Agreed also has anyone heard if the lifeboat has any sort of cover?

If so that may make a sniper shot impossible not just difficult.

F15Mech on April 9, 2009 at 7:15 PM

Agreed also has anyone heard if the lifeboat has any sort of cover?

If so that may make a sniper shot impossible not just difficult.

F15Mech on April 9, 2009 at 7:15 PM

I was just reading about that.

Earlier in the day, the USS Bainbridge arrived near the Alabama and the lifeboat with the pirates and Phillips. Maersk shipping company spokesman Kevin Speers told AP Radio the lifeboat was out of fuel and “dead in the water.”

The U.S. Navy sent up P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft and had video of the scene.

Though officials declined to say how close the Bainbridge is to the pirates, one official said of the bandits: “They can see it with their eyes.” He spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of talking about a military operation in progress.

Joseph Murphy said most of the lifeboats are about 28 feet long and carry water and food for 34 people for 10 days. The lifeboats are covered and the elder Murphy suspects the pirates have closed the ports to avoid sniper fire.

“I’ll guarantee you that if they get all the ports closed, which they probably do, I’ll tell you it’s probably 100 degrees in there, no air flow, there’s no toilet,” he said.

kanda on April 9, 2009 at 7:22 PM

Kini, thanks!

Muir is great!

INC on April 9, 2009 at 9:25 PM

In honor of the Maersk Alabama, I offer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lNFRLrP014

Hope the pirates die.

Special Forces Grunt on April 9, 2009 at 10:21 PM

kanda on April 9, 2009 at 6:58 PM

After the captain is safe I am hoping for an outcome that few will forget. It’s time to put a stop of these group of rag tag thugs bringing countries and companies to their knees.

Cindy Munford on April 9, 2009 at 10:31 PM

After the captain is safe I am hoping for an outcome that few will forget. It’s time to put a stop of these group of rag tag thugs bringing countries and companies to their knees.

Cindy Munford on April 9, 2009 at 10:31 PM

I am thinking perhaps vaporize them with a AH1W Super Cobra right before the mothership picks them up. Then do the same to the mothership. Video the entire episode then play it on TV over and over again while repeating “It’s God’s job to judge the Pirates. It’s OUR job to arrange the meeting – USMC

kanda on April 9, 2009 at 11:24 PM

kanda on April 9, 2009 at 6:58 PM

Yes, how many of us are gritting our teeth and saying,

“If I were President. . .

“I’d get the captain out of there, then blow the pirates to hell.

“And I’d station Navy Sailors on every US flag ship, equipped with machine guns and rockets, with orders to sink any craft that approached closer than 50 yards.”

Just ask, what would President Jefferson (or Reagan) have done?

Instead we have. . .

A rube. ‘President’ Obambi.

MrLynn on April 9, 2009 at 11:27 PM

Oh, and. . .

“”Then I’d go after their bases with Daisy Cutters, one after the other.”

MrLynn on April 9, 2009 at 11:29 PM

capitulus on April 9, 2009 at 3:48 PM

So you do hate Christians? How tolerant.

Johan Klaus on April 10, 2009 at 12:35 AM

Id infect one with the ebola virus and put them back in the boat to go home and spread ebola amongst them all….

Sonosam on April 10, 2009 at 12:46 AM

The fact that these rag tag thugs are still breathing tells me everything I need to know about our future. We are apparently unable to muster the courage to defend ourselves, property or person against anyone or anything. Is it an accident that the pirates have taken a US vessel for the first time in a couple hundred years? Is it any accident that Russia, China, Iran and others are telling us to pound sand and testing our fabulous new and popular president at every turn, I think not. We are screwed.

jwp1964 on April 10, 2009 at 6:39 AM

And now a plot to kill Brits on Easter…..

Hes letting ragtag pirates hold up I dont know how many forces and they werent ready for the Captains escape attempt…

He bowed to the protector of mecca….

He cant find the time for a compassionate word for the held Captain…

If the Allies get rocked by the islammonkeys it wont be hard to make the connection to our seemingly, rubbery Pres.

The patterns getting worse

Sonosam on April 10, 2009 at 10:40 AM

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