In another shocking act of piracy off the coast of Somalia, pirates hijacked the American cargo vessel Maersk Alabama, the first time in 200 years a US vessel has fallen victim. But in a new development, the 20-man crew has retaken the vessel after a struggle, while it seems the captain is still being held in the ship’s lifeboat. Let’s keep him in our prayers and hope he makes it back safely. Meanwhile, I’m glad to see that US warships and air assets are en route to the scene. It’s been a tactic in the past for pirates to slink back into Somalia’s territorial waters 13 miles out from the coast, where foreign navies must stop, and wait for permission from Somalia’s ineffectual government to proceed.
It wasn’t that long when we began to become more aware of the piracy situation in and around the Gulf of Aden. While it’s in the pirates’ best interests to make sure commerce still flows through the region, they’ll have no compunction about violence if their needs aren’t met. It seems many of the crew recognized the threat of piracy was very real before they set out, and I applaud them for their courage in taking back their ship from these maritime criminals. Other vessels haven’t been as lucky, and no matter how this crisis is resolved, the shipping lanes around the Horn of Africa will continue to be plagued by lawlessness.