Captain of Ship Hijacked by Pirates Rescued

In Crime, Foreign Affairs on April 12, 2009 by Editor Z

The Captain of ship seized by Somali Pirates last week, has been rescued and three pirates killed, as another is in custody after a rescue by the U.S Navy. The ship was captured earlier this week,off the coast of Somalia, an area notorious for pirating.

Reporting from Washington and Mombasa, Kenya — U.S. Navy forces today freed an American sea captain being held by pirates off the coast of Somalia, killing three pirates and taking a fourth into custody in the process, the Pentagon confirmed. The captain was unharmed in the rescue.

“It’s outstanding news,” Adm. Greg Smith of Central Command said. “We got the captain back, which is the outcome we wanted to see happen, his safe and secure return.”

Smith said Capt. Richard Phillips of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama was rescued after three hostage-takers were shot and “died as a consequence of their own actions.'”

“Regrettably, three pirates made a choice that ended in the loss of their lives. One did not and is in our custody and will of course be treated responsibly and held responsible,” said Smith.

U.S. Navy Vice Adm. William Gortney, speaking from Bahrain, told reporters at a Pentagon briefing that the commander on the scene judged that Phillips’ life “was in imminent danger” and ordered sharpshooters to fire on the pirates holding the captain at the time. The fourth pirate was on board the U.S. guided-missile destroyer Bainbridge nearby, negotiating for the captain’s release, and was taken into custody.

He provided few other details of the operation.

The rescue most likely was carried from a nearby Navy ship, in the region as part of the U.S. government effort to free Phillips. Central Command was in charge of the operation because “we own the geography” in which the hostage taking occurred, he said.



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