RE: Message to Pirates….It was part of their training
First, to update the ongoing pirate story, it appears the Captain, Richard Phillips of Vermont, is still being held (it sounds like on a lifeboat).
Additionally, I remembered reading about a maritime school training its cadets in anti-piracy tactics a week or so ago. Turns out, it was Massachusetts Maritime…and the instructor of the course? Joseph Murphy, father of Shane Murphy, the Chief Mate (or First Officer) on board the Maersk Alabama.
The 1,000-student academy sends many graduates into seafaring careers where they might traverse pirate-plagued waterways, and joins other maritime academies in campaigns to thwart pillagers.
“The world has become a much more dangerous place, and it’s a problem that is getting worse all the time,” said Joseph Murphy, who teaches anti-piracy tactics in his maritime security class. “We’re all keenly aware that the ante has been upped.”
Murphy’s teachings are personal: His son often travels in dangerous waters and was onboard a commercial ship sailing through the Gulf of Aden last April when pirates attacked a Japanese oil tanker a short distance away.
Guess its a good thing they’ve been trained, even if merchant ships don’t carry any sort of firearms and current policy is to make every attempt to avoid being boarded and then, if boarded, retreat to safe rooms (well, for a while). It sounds like the crew of the Alabama had other ideas.
Despite the heroics of the crew of American sailors, there is still a fundamental question that needs to be answered regarding the seizure of the Alabama by Somali pirates: why now? Pending the release of the ship’s captain, the positive outcome shouldn’t be allowed to mask the root cause behind the attack. Nor should we let the current Administration gloss over their potential response. Or how their current foreign policy stance may have, or have not, emboldened these pirates.
Or maybe they just didn’t expect to run into a real U.S. ship:
Douglas J. Mavrinac, the head of maritime research at investment firm Jefferies & Co., noted that it is very unusual for an international ship to be U.S.-flagged and carry a U.S. crew. Although about 95 percent of international ships carry foreign flags because of the lower cost and other factors, he said, ships that are operated by or for the U.S. government—such a food aid ships like Maersk Alabama—have to carry U.S. flags, and therefore, employ a crew of U.S. citizens.
But that’s another discussion.