Navy Rescues Pirate Captive
The captain of the Maersk-Alabama cargo ship held hostage by pirates off the coast of Somalia was in â€œimminent dangerâ€ when U.S. military snipers shot and killed his three pirate captors, a U.S. Navy commander said today.
Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, provided preliminary details of the rescue mission that freed Capt. Richard Phillips today during a news conference.
Off the Somali coast, U.S. special operations snipers held positions at the rear of the USS Bainbridge, which was towing an 18-foot lifeboat that held Phillips and three pirates some 25-30 meters away.
â€œThe snipers positioned on the fantail of the Bainbridge observed one of the pirates in the pilot house — and two pirates with their head and shoulders exposed — and one of the pirates had the AK47 (assault rifle) leveled at the captainâ€™s back,â€ Gortney said.
Gortney said the White House had given military operators “very clear guidance and authority” if Phillips’ life was in danger.
â€œThe on-scene commander took it as the captain was in imminent danger and then made that decision (to shoot), and he had the authorities to make that decision, and he had seconds to make that decision,â€ he said.
On the marksmanship of the snipers Gortney said, â€œWe pay a lot for their training and we got a good return on our investment.â€
Naval forces rescued Phillips on a rigid-inflatable boat and transferred him to the USS Bainbridge before being flown to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer, where he contacted his family, received a routine medical evaluation, and is resting comfortably, ccording to a U.S. Navy statement.
Gortney said Phillips was in good health and suffered no apparent injuries, despite being â€œtied up inside the lifeboatâ€ for at least part of his five days as a hostage. He noted that a fourth pirate surrendered and is being held in U.S. forcesâ€™ custody.
The admiral praised the military servicemembers involved in the rescue. â€œI could not be more proud to represent all the men and women in uniform who worked tirelessly to make this rescue possible,â€ he said.
By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
President Barack Obama praised the U.S. militaryâ€™s rescue of the kidnapped captain of the Maersk-Alabama cargo ship on the waters off the coast of Somalia today.
U.S. naval forces freed Capt. Richard Phillips five days after Somali pirates took him hostage.
â€œI am very pleased that Captain Phillips has been rescued and is safely on board the USS Boxer,â€ Obama said in a White House statement. â€œHis safety has been our principal concern, and I know this is a welcome relief to his family and his crew.
â€œI am also very proud of the efforts of the US military and many other departments and agencies who worked tirelessly to secure Captain Phillipsâ€™ safe recovery,â€ he said. â€œI share the countryâ€™s admiration for the bravery of captain Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew. His courage is a model for all Americans.â€
Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, comended those involved in the rescue.
â€œThis was an incredible team effort, and I am extremely proud of the tireless efforts of all the men and women who made this rescue possible,â€ Gortney said in a U.S. Navy release. Gortney said Phillipsâ€™ actions, and those of the Maersk-Alabama crew, were heroic.
â€œThey fought back to regain control of their ship, and Captain Phillips selflessly put his life in the hands of these armed criminals in order to protect his crew,â€ he said.
Following the rescue, Phillips was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge before being flown to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer, where he contacted his family, received a routine medical evaluation, and is resting comfortably, according to a U.S. Navy statement.
Three pirates were killed during the rescue operation, and U.S. military forces have one pirate in custody, the statement said.
DoDBy John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
Table of contents for Pirates
- Peleliu Stops Pirate Attack
- Navy Tanker fights Off Pirates
- Navy Continues to Eye Pirates
- US Navy Aids Ship Released By Pirates
- US Navy Jugs Somali Pirates
- Navy Detains Somali Pirates
- Maersk Alabama Taken By Somali Pirates
- Navy Rescues Pirate Captive
- Pics From the Pirate Rescue Off Somalia
- This Is a Pirate Ship?
- USS McFaul nabs pirates off Oman
- Marine Hymn still echoes: Pirates taken down off Somalia
- German Navy Intercepts Somali Pirates
- Royal Marines Free Pirated Ship Off Somalia
- Pirate Mother Ship Taken Down, Sailors Freed
- Pirates Attack Spanish Warship
- Somali Piracy Update
- Dutch Navy sinks Somali pirate ship
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This entry was posted on Sunday, April 12th, 2009 at 5:52 pm and is filed under Crime and Punishment, Military, War on Terror, Terrorist Death Watch. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.