Somali Pirates Hijack American Ship

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Landis82, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. By KATHARINE HOURELD, Associated Press Writer Katharine Houreld, Associated Press Writer

    NAIROBI, Kenya – Somali pirates on Wednesday hijacked a U.S.-flagged cargo ship with 20 American crew members onboard, hundreds of miles from the nearest American military vessel in some of the most dangerous waters in the world.

    United Kingdom maritime officials have been able to contact the vessel and were told "everyone is OK," according to a U.S. defense official in Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

    British maritime and defense officials did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

    The 17,000-ton Maersk Alabama was carrying emergency relief to Mombasa, Kenya, when it was hijacked, said Peter Beck-Bang, spokesman for the Copenhagen-based container shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk. It was the sixth ship seized within a week, a rise that analysts attribute to a new strategy by Somali pirates who are operating far from the warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden.

    The company confirmed that the U.S.-flagged vessel has 20 U.S. nationals onboard.

    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." She did not give an exact timeframe.

    Press secretary Robert Gibbs said the White House was monitoring the incident closely and "assessing a course of action."

    "Our top priority is the personal safety of the crew members on board," Gibbs said.

    When asked how the U.S. Navy plans to deal with the hijacking, Campbell said she would "not discuss nor speculate on current and future military operations."

    It was not clear whether the pirates knew they were hijacking a ship with American crew.

    "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."

    Brooks and other analysts interviewed by the AP declined to speculate on whether American military forces might attempt a rescue operation. A senior Navy official in Washington said the Obama administration was talking to the shipping company to learn "the who, what, why, where and when" of the hijacking.

    The U.S. Navy confirmed that the ship was hijacked early Wednesday about 280 miles (450 kilometers) southeast of Eyl, a town in the northern Puntland region of Somalia.

    Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau, a piracy watchdog group in Kuala Lumpur, said depending on the speed of the ship, and where the pirates wanted to take it, it could take a day or two to reach shore.

    U.S. Navy spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen said the closest U.S. ship at the time of the hijacking was 345 miles (555 kilometers)away.

    "The area, the ship was taken in, is not where the focus of our ships has been," Christensen told The Associated Press by phone from the 5th Fleet's Mideast headquarters in Bahrain. "The area we're patrolling is more than a million miles in size. Our ships cannot be everywhere at every time."

    Somali pirates are trained fighters who frequently dress in military fatigues and use speedboats equipped with satellite phones and GPS equipment. They are typically armed with automatic weapons, anti-tank rocket launchers and various types of grenades. Far out to sea, their speedboats operate from larger mother ships.

    Most hijackings end with million-dollar payouts. Piracy is considered the biggest moneymaker in Somalia, a country that has had no stable government for decades. Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the London-based think-tank Chatham House, said pirates took up to $80 million in ransoms last year.

    A NATO official said from Brussels that the alliance's five warships were patrolling the Gulf of Aden at the time of attack.

    "That's where most of the shipping goes through and we can provide most of the protection in that vital trade route," said the official who asked not to be identified under standing rules.

    The official said the taking of the crude-filled Saudi supertanker Sirius Star also happened in open water far off the Somali coastline. The Sirius Star was released in January,

    NATO has five warships that patrol the region alongside three frigates from the European Union. The U.S. Navy normally keeps between five to 10 ships on station off the Somali coast. The navies of India, China, Japan, Russia and other nations also cooperate in the international patrols.

    NATO sees piracy as a long-term problem and is planning to deploy a permanent flotilla to the region this summer. On March 29, a NATO supply ship itself came under attack by Somali pirates who appear to have mistaken it for a merchant ship. The crew quickly overcame the attackers, boarded their boat and captured seven.

    This is the second time that Somali pirates have seized a ship belonging to the privately held shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk. In February 2008, the towing vessel Svitzer Korsakov from the A.P. Moller-Maersk company Svitzer was briefly seized by pirates.

    Before this latest hijacking, Somali pirates were holding 14 vessels and about 200 crew members, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
  2. Time for a "Google Water" so we can find these pirates...

    WTF is our military doing to stop this?

    I don't get it.

    This is not 200 years ago when they had no radar, no satellites, no high speed pursuit vessels and planes/helicopters which can travel at much higher speeds than a ship, no method for ships to contact others for help...
  3. Newsflash:

    "Pentagon says that American crew may be back in control of hijacked ship . . ."

    Sounds like our military already made a "visit".
  4. U.S. Official:

    "20-men American Hijacked crew safe.
    Crew re-took control of the ship.
    One pirate captured."

    A lot of these U.S. ships have ex-military personnel aboard. Looks like they took back "control" and the pirates ran away, overboard. :D
  5. The ship crew just overwhelmed the hijackers, arrested one of the hijackers and freed the ship.

    You guys should watch Al Jazeera :D
  6. And also saved Obama's ass.
    Now he can give another pompous speech about how tough he is without having to prove it.
  7. They never did this with Bush because they knew Bush would kick their asses whereas they know Obama is a dick sucking affirmative action pussy.
  8. Looks like "tough" guy Bush failed to keep the North Koreans from firing not one, but SIX missiles in 2006.

    So much for the "Axis of Evil".
    Bush was a PUSSY.

    North Korea Launches Taepodong-2 Missile

    July 5, 2006 (Bloomberg) -- North Korea fired six missiles over the Sea of Japan today, defying demands from the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea and Russia to refrain from such tests.

    They included a long-range Taepodong-2 rocket that disappeared after 40 seconds, White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said in Washington.

    Japan said it will impose sanctions and the United Nations Security Council will meet today to discuss the test. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill will travel to Asia as early as today for consultations.

    The following is a timeline of the launches and key events prior to the tests. All missile timings are given in local Korean time using information provided to reporters in Washington.

    3:33 a.m. Scud-C, short-range ballistic missile, is launched. It lands in the Sea of Japan, short of Japanese coastline.

    4:04 a.m. Rodong, medium-range ballistic missile, or a Scud-C is fired and lands short of Japan. This and first launch were not considered unusual by U.S. officials.

    5:01 a.m. Taepodong-2, long-range ballistic missile, is launched and vanishes in less than a minute. This missile also landed in the Sea of Japan.

    7:12 a.m. Scud-C, or other missile, fired and lands in Sea of Japan at 7:17 a.m.

    7:31 a.m. Rodong missile is launched, landing in the Sea of Japan at 7:36 a.m.

    Time not determined: Another Rodong launched. The U.S. Northern Command said all missiles landed in the Sea of Japan. South Korea's government said the missile launches were from Hwadae in the northern province of Hamkyung Bukdo and Anbyun in Kangwondo province in the east.

    July 4: North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency says U.S. naval exercises in the Pacific Ocean are an ``escalation of the U.S. aggressive moves for a new war.''

    July 3: KCNA says a U.S. attack on its missile sites would be met with a ``relentless annihilating strike and a nuclear war.''

    June 30: Assistant Secretary of State Hill, who is also the top American negotiator in six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program, says missile test would call into question commitments to give aid and security guarantees pledged earlier.

    June 29: A long-range missile test by North Korea would be ``extremely provocative,'' Australian Prime Minister John Howard says after holding talks with China's Premier Wen Jiabao.

    June 28: Japan doesn't have the capability to shoot down a long- range missile from North Korea, the Associated Press reports, citing Japanese Defense Agency head Fukushiro Nukaga.

    June 27: South Korea's government says it will take ``measures'' against North Korea in the event the country tests a long-range missile. North and South Korea are divided by a fortified border and haven't signed a formal peace treaty following the Korean War in the 1950s.

    June 26: President George W. Bush urges the North Korean government to disclose details of any plans to launch a long-range missile, an act he said would be ``provocative.''

    June 25: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner says U.S. missile defense systems will be used ``to the extent they can'' should North Korea fire a long-range ballistic missile capable of hitting North America.

    June 23: The U.S. will pursue diplomacy to ease tensions with North Korea over a possible long-range missile test, the State Department says.

    June 22: The U.S. should warn and then launch a pre-emptive strike to destroy a missile if North Korea persists with preparations for a test, former Defense Secretary William Perry and former Assistant Defense Secretary Ashton Carter say.

    June 21: China's Wen calls for a resumption of six-nation talks to persuade North Korea to abandon plans to develop nuclear weapons, discussions that have been suspended since November 2005.

    June 21: John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, rejects North Korea's suggestion the two nations hold direct talks over possible preparations for the launch of a long-range ballistic missile.

    June 21: China joins the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Australia in telling North Korea to refrain from testing a long-range missile, saying it may damage six-nation discussions on the country's nuclear program.

    June 19: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says a North Korean missile test would be ``a provocative act'' after the New York Times reported the missile may have the capability of reaching North America.

    June 16: A long-range missile test by North Korea would violate an agreement Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi reached with the country's leader, Kim Jong Il, in September 2002, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe says.

    June 11: North Korea is preparing a possible test of a long-range Taepodong-2 missile, the Financial Times says on its Web site, citing an unidentified senior U.S. official.

    June 1: North Korea's government invites Assistant Secretary of State Hill to Pyongyang to discuss ways to complete last year's agreement on ending the country's nuclear weapons program. The U.S. rejects the offer.

    May 25: The U.S. won't lift sanctions against North Korea to coax it back to six-nation talks on its nuclear weapons program, Hill says in Beijing.

    May 19: South Korea's government says it is trying to verify a Japanese news report that North Korea may be preparing to test a Taepodong long-range ballistic missile.

    May 18: The Bush administration is considering opening direct talks with North Korea on a peace treaty as a new approach to persuading that nation to end its pursuit of nuclear weapons, a U.S. official says.

    March 8: North Korea test-fires two short-range missiles, U.S. government says. North Korea doesn't confirm tests.

    Feb. 28: North Korea again denies it is involved in money laundering or counterfeiting and reiterates demand for U.S. to lift sanctions before it will return to six-nation talks on its nuclear weapons.

    November 2005: The fifth round of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons ends without making progress on a September agreement for ridding the Korean peninsula of nuclear arms.

    October 2005: The U.S. imposes sanctions on North Korea for money laundering and counterfeiting.

    September 2005: China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia and the U.S. reach a broad agreement on ending the North's nuclear weapons program at the fourth round of talks on the issue. Parties agree to further talks to flesh out details.

    May 2005: North Korea tests a KN-02, a conversion of a Russian short-range missile, the SS21.

    May 2004: North Korea reiterates commitment to freeze on tests of long-range missiles.

    October 2003: North Korea tests a Chinese Silkworm surface-to-air missile, which falls into Sea of Japan.

    April 2003: North Korea tests a Silkworm surface-to-air missile with a range of 60 kilometers.

    March 2003: North Korea tests a Chinese Silkworm surface-to-air missile with a range of 100 kilometers.

    February 2003: North Korea tests a Chinese Silkworm surface-to-air missile with a range of 100 kilometers.

    September 2002: North Korea agrees to indefinite freeze on tests of long-range missiles in Pyongyang Declaration when Japan's Koizumi visits the country. Two countries agree to normalize ties after Koizumi apologized for its wartime aggression and agreed to provide food aid to North Korea.

    August 1998: North Korea tests a Taepodong-1 three-stage, long- range ballistic missile, with a range of 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles). Missile flies over Japan and falls into the Pacific Ocean. North Korea claims test was a successful launch of Kwangmyongsong- 1 Satellite.

    May 1993: North Korea test launches Rodong-1 mid-range ballistic missile with range of 1,300 kilometers.

    April 1984: North Korea test launches Scud-B missile with range of 280 kilometers.
    Last Updated: July 5, 2006 03:05 EDT
  9. Those missiles were launched only because Bush allowed them to be launched.
    There is much intelligence to be gained by studying missile launches.

    The "Axis of evil" is a correct definition, no one would argue.
    It takes brilliant international strategic thought to identify a multi-national enemy.

    Similar to the identification of the "Iron Curtain"
    #10     Apr 8, 2009