The Maersk Alabama was captured by pirates in April, and Capt. Richard Phillips was taken hostage. US Navy Seals freed him killing 3 bad guys along the way.
Guards aboard the Maersk Alabama used guns and a sound blaster Wednesday to repel the second pirate attack in seven months on the U.S. vessel at a time when ships are increasingly hiring armed security teams to thwart hijackings.The UN is all upset that people are recognizing relying on some nebulous system isn't working.
Despite an increased international flotilla of warships off the Horn of Africa, maritime figures indicate the number of ship boardings has remained about the same in the past year.
The U.N.'s Maritime Safety Committee says members should "strongly discourage the carrying and use of firearms by seafarers for personal protection or for the protection of a ship." The concern is that bringing guns aboard ship will encourage violence.Sounds an awful lot like the predictions of "wild west shootouts" that gun-fearing-weenies predict every time a state passes concealed carry.
Guns don't cause violence. And anyway, encouraging violence against the pirates - "the enemies of all mankind" - is a good thing. (Violence in the service of defense is not a bad thing.)
Pirates are violent bunch, and people are dying.
On Wednesday, a self-proclaimed pirate said the captain of a chemical tanker hijacked Monday had died of wounds suffered during the ship's hijacking. The pirate, Sa'id, who gave only one name for fear of reprisals, said the captain died Tuesday night from internal bleeding. The chemical tanker Theresa was taken Monday with 28 North Korean crew, the EU naval force said.But with million-dollar paydays being handed out in the form of ransoms, the end of this problem is not in sight.
And in case you are wondering, not everyone agrees with the UN.
"Due to Maersk Alabama ... embarking security teams, the ship was able to prevent being successfully attacked by pirates," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. "This is a great example of how merchant mariners can take pro-active action."Even with a host of naval vessels in the area around Somalia, the pirates are still taking ships. "Calling 911" and waiting for rescue isn't really an option most of the time.
Four suspected pirates in a skiff had approached the Maersk Alabama, firing with automatic weapons from about 300 yards away, a statement from the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain said. The ship responded with evasive maneuvers, small-arms fire and a Long Range Acoustic Device, which emits earsplitting tones.