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Monday, April 13, 2009

The US Navy Seals Rescued The Ship From Somali Pirates

The week long standoff between Somali pirates and the U.S. flagged ship ended on Sunday when the U.S. Navy killed the pirates holding a U.S. captive. After the pirates were shot, the captain was rescued unharmed.

The conflict began when pirates boarded the Maersk Alabama, a Danish-operated vessel with a U.S. crew, as it attempted to deliver aid to African refugees. Pirates apparently sought to extort a ransom for the return of the crew and cargo, but the crew members overpowered at least one of the four pirates, causing the other attackers to flee with the captain of the ship as a hostage.

The 20 unarmed crew members then negotiated an exchange of the pirate for the captain, who was taken off the ship with the pirates in one of the vessel's life boats, a self-contained enclosed vehicle. But after the crew released the pirate, the pirates refused to release the captain.

Captain Richard Phillips was held hostage by the pirates for days, even attempting to escape once, before the U.S. Navy was able to shoot the pirates on Sunday. Three of the pirates reportedly stood in visible sight of Navy sharpshooters while the fourth pirate was on board the USS Bainbridge attempting to negotiate a settlement to the standoff.

The incident came in a week in which six ships were hijacked by heavily armed pirates in the area, but it was the first American ship to be hijacked since the Barbary Wars, two conflicts between the U.S. and the Barbary States in North Africa in the early 19th century.

President Barack Obama reportedly gave the order allowing U.S. sharpshooters to take out the pirates if the captain's life was in danger.

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