19 November 2009

If at first you don't succeed...find a different line of work

You may remember the story of the Maersk Alabama, the cargo ship which was seized by Somalian pirates in April of this year: The crew of the ship fought back against the pirates, reclaiming the ship, but not before four pirates escaped with the captain of the ship as a hostage in a life boat. A US Navy destroyer was dispatched, and US Navy SEALs joined the action, parachuting into the water. After a standoff which lasted a few days, the US Navy destroyer, having attached a line to the life boat, slowly began to reel the boat in to range of the SEAL snipers. Suddenly, all three pirates were simultaneously shot through the head, allowing the captain to escape.

It was a masterful mission, and the crew of the Maersk Alabama, as well as the US Navy SEALs, showed considerable bravery. I would have thought that the actions of the US--as opposed to some countries which have simply paid pirates ransom--would deter future pirate attacks.

Of course, this assumes that the pirates are using common sense. Yesterday, Somalian pirates attempted to seize an American vessel...which turned out to be none other than the Maersk Alabama. Again.

The pirates were easily driven off thanks to a compliment of armed guards which now stands watch over the vessel.

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