I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Somali Pirates Seize U.S. Flagged Container Ship
21 Americans Onboard

**update**  Hallelujah!!!

The Americans have retaken the ship from the pirates!!!

The MAERSK ALABAMA, when it was known as the ALVA MAERSK
Photo Credit: Ken Smith

Somali pirates have seized a Danish-owned, US-operated container ship with 21 American crew members aboard, in the latest attack on shipping off the Horn of Africa, a regional maritime group said today.

Andrew Mwangura, of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, said the Maersk Alabama, a 17,000-tonne ship, was hijacked in the Indian Ocean, 400 miles from the Somalian capital, Mogadishu.

"All its 21 American crew members are believed to be safe," Mwangura said.

The US navy confirmed that a US-flagged ship with 21 crew members was hijacked early today off the eastern coast of Somalia.

Lieutenant Nathan Christensen, a US navy spokesman, said the attack took place northeast of Eyl, a town in the northern Puntland region of Somalia. He said there were US citizens aboard the ship, but declined to say how many or to name the ship until the family members of the crew are notified.

Source: UK Guardian
Related: Background on the MAERSK A line from Global Security 

According to my research, the complement of the vessel includes 1 Bosun, 10 Able Seamen, 1 GU, 3 QMEDs, 2 GVAs, 2 SBs and 2 Cooks. [Seawords]

Here is a story about the crew of the MAERSK ALABAMA assisting an orphanage in 2006:

The true spirit of giving was personified by crew members aboard the SIU-contracted Maersk Alabama when they made the holiday season very special for a group of orphaned children in Tanzania.

Crew members late last year purchased and donated more than $1,400 worth food, personal hygiene products, disinfectants, laundry and bedding items for the 95 residents of a children’s home in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Alabama Chief Mate Brian Mossman—with the assistance of Tanzania-based Maersk Agents Thomas Odeny and Isaac Mbugi—did much of the groundwork to make the project possible, including contacting officials at the orphanage to ascertain specifically what items were most needed. Among those in demand were rice and beans, cooking oil, vegetables, toothpaste, aspirin, laundry soap and sheets and mosquito nets for more than 50 bunks. Since the kids rarely have the opportunity to eat meat, the crew also pitched in so that Odeny and Mbugi could buy two goats for the children’s Christmas dinner.


Now is the time to find out the quality of President Barack Hussein Obama. Can he make a difference in this situation? Will he allow Americans to continue in harm's way?

I note that he is relatively close to the scene, on his whirl-wind tour of Europe and the East. 

When we continue to let areas of the world get out of control where commerce is threatened? Or will we just tell Americans that they on their own once they leave our shores, that being an America means nothing? 

Will President Obama take proactive steps, or will he follow the President Carter route?

Whatever happens, I will be praying for the crew of the MAERSK ALABAMA, for their families and for those (if any) tasked with rescuing the crew. I will pray for the Somali pirates to get caught, or otherwise rendered unable to continue in this criminal activity.

**12.36pm** Steve Wilson wonders where the pirates are gonna hide all the loot.