Friday, May 22, 2009

Another American-flagged vessel targeted by pirates

MV Maersk Virginia (Maersk Line photo)

Another container ship from US-based Maersk Line Ltd. was involved in a pirate incident earlier today. According to Lloyd's List, the MV Maersk Virginia was sailing in the Gulf of Aden when a pirate boat approached. Other media reports say that the pirates had been targeting another freighter, the Maria K., in the seas south of Yemen when they appear to have decided to go for something bigger. As the CBC's David Common details from aboard the Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg, the warship deployed its Sea King helicopter in response to a distress call from the Maria K., which had been fired on by the pirates. Before the chopper arrived, though, the attackers turned their attention towards the much larger Virginia, which is crewed by 19 US-nationals. The arrival of the Canadian helicopter and a second one from an Italian warship caused the pirates to give up any further actions and throw their weapons into the sea. Italian naval forces then boarded and captured the suspects.

The Virginia is, of course, part of the same fleet that includes the Maersk Alabama. (One note of clarification from the CBS report by Sheila MacVicar, who is also embedded aboard HMCS Winnipeg, is that the frigate could not have deployed three helicopters as the warship only carries a single Sea King.)

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