There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fly…

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist
2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky/Released

This news broke about a couple hours ago — Reuters is reporting that Somali pirates have seized a Danish-owned, U.S.-operated container ship on Wednesday with 21 American crew on board. The report quoted Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme as saying that the 17,000 ton vessel was hijacked in the Indian Ocean 400 miles off the Somali capital Mogadishu, the crew is safe and that the vessel had been tentatively identified as the Maersk Alabama.

Maersk Alabama, formerly named Alva Maersk is a 17,400 ton vessel. If the ship has been correctly identified it is owned by Maersk Line, Limited or Denmark’s A.P. Moller/Maersk A.S. According to globalsecurity, Maersk Line, Limited, a subsidiary of Denmark’s A.P. Moller/Maersk A.S., is independently controlled by a board of directors comprised entirely of U.S. citizens. Also this: “Maersk Line, Limited is based in Norfolk, Virginia, and is one of the Department of Defense’s primary shipping contractors. It has been a reliable partner for the government in peacetime and war for almost 30 years. The company operates vessels registered in the United States in full compliance with U.S. laws and regulations. It manages a fleet of nearly 50 ships in commercial and government service, including vessels requiring Top Secret security clearances.”

Just a day ago, the Fifth Fleet out of Bahrain had issued a Combined Maritime Forces Issues New Alert to Mariners (Release #058-09) saying in part:

“The notice also reiterates the fact that despite increased naval presence in the region, ships and aircraft are unlikely to be close enough to provide support to vessels under attack. The scope and magnitude of problem cannot be understated. The area involved off the coast of Somalia and Kenya as well as the Gulf of Aden equals more than 1.1 million square miles (2.5 million square kilometers), roughly four times the size of Texas or the size of the Mediterranean and Red Seas combined. The length of the Somali coastline is roughly the same length as the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States.”

Do you think the pirates of Aden have finally chomped more than they could swallow this time?