Pirates Seize U.S. Cargo Ship, Crew

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The United States government is hard at work, responding to a pirate attack against American citizens—the first in recent times. The Obama administration is speaking with the shipping company in order to find out the answers to many questions regarding the American-flag ship, which was hijacked off the coast of Somalia.

A senior Navy official in Washington is working with the administration in order to find out the “who, what, why, where and when” of the attack, say Pentagon respresentatives There was a crew of approximately 20 people aboard the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama.

Officials refuse to comment on the plans that the United States has in order to release the ship from the Somalian pirates. The ship was said to be carrying emergency relief, from Salah in Oman to the Kenyan port of Mombassa via Dijbouti, when hijacked. The attack occurred in the Indian Ocean, 400 miles east of Mogadishu.

A new strategy by the Somalian pirates is being recognized for the rise of ships seized—six within one week. The Somalians are operating warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden, but their range extends much further than the immediate vicinity of the Gulf.

It is unclear as to whether or not the pirates knew that the ship they were hijacking contained Americans. Some sources have claimed that all crew members on board the ship at the time of the hijacking are now safe, but this information is still unconfirmed.

“It’s a very significant foreign policy challenge for the Obama administration,” said Graeme Gibbon Brooks, managing director of the British company Dryad Maritime Intelligence Service Ltd. “Their citizens are in the hands of criminals and people are waiting to see what happens.”

When asking whether the United States military will take action, Commander Jane Campbell, a spokeswoman for the United States Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, reported that they are monitoring the situation closely, but they are unable to speculate or confirm future military action. She added that this is the first pirate attack “involving U.S. nationals and a U.S.-flagged vessel in recent memory.”

Experts say that American citizens have not been subject to a pirate attack in over 200 years.

The pirates of Somalia are notorious, but have been missing from the news for the first three months of this year because a massive international naval force moved in.

Before this hijacking, Somali pirates were holding 14 vessels and about 200 crew members, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

The Maersk Alabama is a Danish-owned, U.S.-operated, 17,000 container vessel.

 

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