Somali pirates attacked the Maersk Alabama on Wednesday for the second time in seven months, though private guards on board the U.S.-flagged ship repelled the attack with gunfire and a high-decibel noise device.And how does the submissive lov'n bottom that is Europe respond.
A U.S. surveillance plane was monitoring the ship as it continued to its destination on the Kenyan coast, while a pirate said that the captain of a ship hijacked Monday with 28 North Korean crew members on board had died of wounds.
Pirates hijacked the Maersk Alabama last April and took ship captain Richard Phillips hostage, holding him at gunpoint in a lifeboat for five days. Navy SEAL sharpshooters freed Phillips while killing three pirates in a daring nighttime attack.
Four suspected pirates in a skiff attacked the ship again on Tuesday around 6:30 a.m. local time, firing on the ship with automatic weapons from about 300 yards (meters) away, a statement from the U.S. Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said.
An on-board security team repelled the attack by using evasive maneuvers, small-arms fire and a Long Range Acoustic Device, which can beam earsplitting alarm tones, the fleet said.
Vice Adm. Bill Gortney of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said the Maersk Alabama had followed the maritime industry's "best practices" in having a security team on board.
"This is a great example of how merchant mariners can take proactive action to prevent being attacked and why we recommend that ships follow industry best practices if they're in high-risk areas," Gortney said in a statement.
However, Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the London-based think tank Chatham House, said the international maritime community was still "solidly against" armed guards aboard vessels at sea, but that American ships have taken a different line than the rest of the international community.The other option is ......
"Shipping companies are still pretty much overwhelmingly opposed to the idea of armed guards," Middleton said. "Lots of private security companies employee people who don't have maritime experience. Also, there's the idea that it's the responsibility of states and navies to provide security. I would think it's a step backward if we start privatizing security of the shipping trade."
Somali pirates are thought to have received a £2million ransom tonight by Spanish authorities after the release of 36 crew members, held for six weeks.Weak horse.
One of the captors on the Spanish trawler said the cash had been paid - and Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero did not deny the allegation.
It is thought to be the second time Spain has paid a ransom to free hostages, despite a general policy by Britain and other Western countries not to.
A Somali villager named Ali Ahmed Salad said 12 armed pirates left the ship shortly after noon Tuesday and joined colleagues near the pirate town of Haradhere.
Ali Gab, a self-proclaimed pirate, told The Associated Press that a boat had delivered $3.3 million in ransom. Gab said pirates began leaving the ship shortly afterward, and that a Spanish warship nearby watched the proceedings.
Like I've said before - when the Islamists get stronger - the center of the Long War will, again, be Europe - they are the weak horse.