worked out quite differently than the attack seven months ago. A big difference is that this time the ship being attacked had guns. A spokeswoman for the Maersk Shipping Line said: ""The crew and the captain are safe." The wife of the Maersk Alabama's captain said: "I'm really happy at least it didn't turn out like the last time." The reaction of a pirate who had been in communication with those who attacked the ship: "They told us that they got in trouble with an American ship, then we lost them. We have been trying to locate them since."
Somali pirates attacked the Maersk Alabama on Wednesday for the second time in seven months and were thwarted by private guards on board the U.S.-flagged ship who fired off guns and a high-decibel noise device.
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 Wednesday around 6:30 a.m. local time, firing on the ship with automatic weapons from about 300 yards away, a statement from the U.S. Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said.
Evasive maneuvers, small-arms fire
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. . . . .
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