Somali Piracy: FBI to Negotiate Release of Captain of Maersk Alabama

by OldSailor on April 10, 2009


Somali pirates attempted to hijack the 17,500 tonne Danish operated container ship ‘Maersk Alabama’ on April 08. The Captain of the vessel is now held as a hostage by the pirates. Officials of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are with the U.S.Navy to negotiate safe release of the Captain.

Some of the developments are:

  • The pirates boarded the 780-foot vessel bound for Mombasa, Kenya with humanitarian aid. The vessel was about 300 miles off Somalia’s coast. FBI
  • The 20 member American crew, however overpowered the pirates and took back the control of the vessel. The Maersk Alabama’s crew members were trained to deal with pirate attacks.
  • During this period of time, four Somali pirates took Capt.Richard Phillips, the American captain of the ship as hostage and left the vessel in a lifeboat. It is also reported that the Captain offered himself as a hostage to save his ship’s crew.
  • The crew even captured one of the pirates to get back their captain in exchange, but that was unsuccessful.
  • The four pirates with Capt.Richard Phillips are now drifting in the life boat as they have run out of fuel.
  • Meanwhile USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) has reached the area of hijack on April 09, to assess the pirate situation.
  • Also the U.S.Navy has sought the assistance of FBI to negotiate safe release of the captain.
  • The vessel is home ported in Norfolk, Va. and this is the first pirate seizure of a ship flying the U.S.flag in the last 200 years.
  • Read more about Capt.Richard Phillips from NY Daily News.
  • Read more from gCaptain, for Maersk Alabama Lifeboat FAQ.

Read more and also view a video clip from France 24.

Also view a video clip: Somali pirates take US captain hostage.

Post in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:

Pakistan Navy Frigate Zulfiqar Type F22P Launched in China

Update: April 11

As the pirates were demanding an unspecified amount of money for the captain’s release and warned against using force to secure his freedom, Captain Richard Phillips jumped into the sea during the night and tried to swim towards the nearby USS Bainbridge. But the pirates also jumped into the water and recaptured him. Read more from France 24.

View a video clip: Pirates defy U.S. navy-more pirate ships reinforcements on the move.

Update: April 13

Captain Richard Phillips was rescued unharmed after five days by the U.S.Navy on April 12. During the rescue operation, three pirates were killed and one pirate was taken into custody. President Barack Obama has praised the U.S. military’s rescue operation. Read more from U.S.Navy.

Read U.S.President Barack Obama’s statement on the rescue of Capt Phillips from The White House.

Here are some photographs released by U.S.Navy.

Maersk-Alabama Capt. Richard Phillips, right, stands alongside Lt. Cmdr. David Fowler, Executive Officer of USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) after being rescued by U.S Naval Forces off the coast of Somalia. (Official U.S. Navy photo/Released)


In a still frame from video taken by the Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle, the guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) is underway near a 28-foot lifeboat, lower right, from the U.S.-flagged container ship Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean. (U.S. Navy Photo)


In a still frame from video taken by the Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle, a 28-foot lifeboat from the U.S.-flagged container ship Maersk Alabama is seen in the Indian Ocean. (U.S. Navy Photo)


View an interesting video clip: Navy News Conference About Freed Captain Richard Phillips

It is further reported that the pirates were ready to release Capt Richard Phillips without ransom and the U.S.Navy killed the pirates to release the captain. The Somali pirates have threatened to target Americans in revenge for the rescue of the captain. Read more and view video clip from France 24.

Update: April 14

The U.S. Navy says that the rescue operation of the kidnapped American ship captain was “textbook”. Also it is reported that the four pirates involved in kidnapping the Maersk-Alabama captain were 17 to 19 years old. Read more from the U.S.Navy.

Update: April 15

Here is the lifeboat in which Capt. Richard Phillips was kept as a hostage by Somali pirates. A team from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) tows the lifeboat from the Maersk Alabama to Boxer to be processed for evidence.


The above photo is from U.S.Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Rasmussen/Released)

View some amazing video clips:

How Snipers Saved Captain ? from ABC News

Animated Timeline of U.S.Navy SEALs Rescue of Capt Richard Phillips

Update: August 16

View a video clip from Fox News Channel: High Seas Heroes

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