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2009 Rescue at Sea: Maersk-Alabama Captain Richard Phillips, Snipers on USS Bainbridge Attack Pirates Off the Coast of Somalia (Two CD-ROM Set)

This up-to-date electronic book on two CD-ROMs has comprehensive coverage of the dramatic April 12, 2009 Navy rescue of Maersk-Alabama Captain Richard Phillips. At approximately 7:19 p.m (12:19 p.m. EDT) U.S. naval forces rescued Capt. Richard Phillips, the master of Motor Vessel Maersk-Alabama. U.S. military forces have one pirate in custody, three were killed in the rescue. Comprehensive coverage is provided of the entire modern maritime piracy and maritime security issue. The term “pirate” may conjure in many people’s minds romantic images of swashbuckling adventurers. However, in reality, a 21st century pirate is frequently a desperately poor individual from an unstable or failing state, roaming the ocean in a small skiff, waiting to attack vulnerable cargo ships with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. There is nothing romantic about this figure – or about the crime of piracy. According to the International Maritime Bureau, there were 293 reported pirate attacks against ocean-going vessels in 2008. While pirate attacks occur sporadically in many parts of the world, piracy is most prevalent in the Horn of Africa region, where gangs from Somalia are seizing vessels and holding their crews for ransom. Somalia is a largely ungoverned country with a shoreline stretching over 1,500 miles – equal to the distance from Miami to Maine. The primary industry and livelihood of coastal Somalia has always been fishing, and Somalis are capable mariners. During the last year, and especially last summer and fall, piracy incidents and ransom payouts increased dramatically. The lack of governance, poor economic conditions, vast coastline, and numerous vessels along the coast created a situation allowing pirates to mix in with legal fisherman, evade coalition Navies, and take merchant vessels hostage with little or no consequences. It is estimated that 25,000 ships per year transit the area in question, and the pirates enjoyed complete freedom of movement both at sea and ashore. Merchant vessels were forced to comply with boardings by pirates brandishing automatic weapons and grenade launchers. Compliant vessels and crews were generally unharmed and, after days or weeks of negotiation, ship owners paid a ransom to have the ships released. As of late, and evident with the pirating of M/V FAINA (carrying Russian tanks, rocket propelled grenades and anti-air artillery) and M/T SIRIUS STAR (crude oil), the pirates appear emboldened. With the rewards so high (ransoms typically exceed $1M dollars) and little to no risk of consequences, thus far, piracy has become an attractive way of life for people in war-torn Somalia. Flush with cash, pirates may upgrade their equipment (boats, weapons, boarding equipment), improve their tactics and procedures, and continue to adapt to coalition naval presence over time. There is also coverage of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. Navy 5th Fleet, and Naval Special Warfare Seals. There is material from the U.S. Navy, State Department, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearings, U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), NGA, Maritime Security Primer, the National Strategy for Maritime Security, and Maritime Piracy legislation. U.S. Naval Forces Central Command deters or defeats aggression in littoral and maritime areas of responsibility; works with regional, joint and other partners to improve overall security, stability and regional nations’ maritime capabilities; and remains ready to respond to the full range of crises, including environmental and humanitarian. Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter violent extremism and terrorist networks in maritime areas of responsibility.

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