(monday the 13th April 09 Australian time)
U.S. Navy snipers shot dead, pirates holding captain Phillips
hostage yesterday, local time. Navy personal saw a Somali pirate
level a weapon at Captain Phillips back and that is all she wrote.
Skipper Phillips was not hit, (Well done Navy Seal Snipers!)
and as can be seen from the US Navy photos above, survived the
ordeal in good fashion considering he had been held captive in
the ships lifeboat for four days. According to the navy, the
pirates were shot in the head.
The lifeboat was siezed from the ship and
the pirates fled in it when their attack went wrong. Instead
of laying down and accepting capture, the American crew fought
back. In one case reported, two American crew took guns away
from two somali pirates and stabbed one of them in the hand before
they made their escape.
The lifeboat was not operational for some
reason... it got a small distance and then was dead in the water
but they did have the skipper who volunteered for hostage in
exchange for the pirates leaving his crew alone... The crew,
meanwhile, had capured one of the pirates and was offering that
one in exchange for the skipper. The pirates agreed but then
reneged... hey.. they are pirates...
When the US Navy showed up a deal was made
for the navy to tow the lifeboat to calmer waters. The boat was
on an 82 foot long tow line. Easy range for someone who knows
what they are doing with a rifle.
As Phillips was being held hostage on the
ships lifeboat, guarded by three somalies with AK47's, one of
the pirates was aboard the Bainbridge, obstensively to negotiate
terms for the release of the skipper but now says (according
to some reports) he was really intending to give himself up....
Capt. Richard Phillips' ship, the Maersk Alabama, was boarded
by pirates 350 miles off Somalia on Wednesday morning. This is
much further off shore than previous activity and it is supposed
a mother ship was used to go further afield looking for victims.
A French yacht has also recently been attacked.
The Alabama is currently in Kenya offloading
the criticaly needed relief supplies that was it's cargo.
The US now has in custody, a pirate guilty
of attacking a US flagged vessel.
The last time the US suffered from Pirate
attacks on commercial shipping they sent Stephen Decatur over
to the Barbary Coast about 1815 to straighten the them out, which
he did. Algerian pirates had been plundering Mediterianian shipping
and taking crew slaves if not murdering them on the spot if they
refused to convert to Islam.
The last time mid east thugs tried to capture
an American Cruising boat they got whipped prety bad.
Click here for that amazing story as told by the skipper
that fought them off.