Daring Rescue by U.S. Navy Seals Ups the Ante In the Fight vs. Somali Pirates

The American sea captain held hostage by Somali pirates for five days was rescued by members of the U.S. special ops unit Navy SEALS in a daring made-for-Hollywod firefight which left three kidnappers dead and another captured. Captain Richard Phillips of the U.S.-flagged Maesk Alabama was saved from captivity and possible execution by a surgical strike which resulted in zero casualties on the rescuers’ side. Per CNN, one of the pirates “had an AK-47 leveled at the captain’s back”, prompting SEAL snipers to immediately open fire on the Somalis. Phillips was unharmed.

This was certainly a stirring victory for the Americans, who were trying to negotiate for Phillips’ release but who sensed that he was in “imminent danger”. The on-scene commander then gave the shooters approval to open fire.

Five days previously, Somali pirates tried to hijack the 17,000-ton cargo ship, but Phillips thwarted the takeover by telling his crew to lock themselves in a room.The crew later overpowered some of the pirates, but Phillips surrendered himself to the bandits to safeguard his men, and four of the Somalis fled with him on a lifeboat in an attempt to bring him to the pirates’ haven along the coast of Somalia.

At the White House, President Obama issued a statement saying he is “very pleased that Capt. Phillips has been rescued and is safely on board the USS Boxer” and that his administration remains “resolved to halt the rise of piracy in this region.”

Per reports, pirates operating off Somalia earned $30 million in ransom through the seizure of 42 vessels in 2008. Other estimates put the figure at $80 million. Since January, pirates have staged at least 66 assaults and currently hold more than a dozen ships and more than 200 foreign crew members.

This ups the ante in the ongoing fight against the Somali pirates. The pirates will be less willing to negotiate and more ready to pull the trigger on their captives. The Americans have committed themselves to a more agressive stance in dealing with the pirates. But while the U.S. has the resources and military clout to counter such attacks, other countries like the Philippines have no such capability. We have the largest number of actively deployed seafarers in the world and more than 100 of the 200 remaining victims of Somali kidnappings are Filipinos. Heightened tensions have now placed them in grave danger. The Somalis have been humiliated and are in the mood for revenge. And the pirates’ misplaced anger will literally place our countrymen in the line of fire.

The sad reality is Filipinos are more expendable than sailors of other nationalities, one reason why they usually remain in custody for months at a time before being ransomed. They have become pawns in the struggle to control the shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden. With the present situation, the prospect of their early release just became dimmer.

6 thoughts on “Daring Rescue by U.S. Navy Seals Ups the Ante In the Fight vs. Somali Pirates”

  1. While the story of the ‘pirates’ has been oversimplified, to wish for the death of another human being only diminishes your argument. He is someone’s son, just as you are. Shame on you.

    But I think the Huffington article also doesn’t tell the complete story: What about the Somalis who are capturing ships carring World Food Program food aid for the starving people of Somalia? What about the pirates who are sailing FAR outside the territorial waters mentioned in the story, chasing ships out into international shipping lanes? THEY are NOT defending their country! They are true ‘sea gansters’, and they do not warrant the same treatment as those who are ostensibly patroling local waters.

    Also, if the point was truly to protect their lands from dumping, why do they keep the money and the ‘loot’ for themselves? It’s one thing if they were using the money for something bigger than their own enrichment, but I guess the saying is true: Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    I’m sorry for your country that it is being so affected. But the pirates never face any consequences for their actions, and THEY have begun escalating the situation by going outside their countries waters and by targeting innocent crews and ships instead of only those which seek to do harm. The situation cannot continue as it has, and perhaps this will finally move the world past the status-quo to do something to help Somalia – or at least to formulate a plan to protect ALL people who depend on the sea – including your citizens (even though I’m a so-called “white devil”). Best regards from the US.

  2. “They should have cut Richard Phillips head off and dumped his body in a pool of nuclear waste… How long shall they capture justice and let the guilty go free?”
    exactly how credible is your source?
    And when did Phillips ever deserve to have his head cut off he just saved his crew.
    These pirates are holding people ransom for money, there are no demands on illegal dumping or fishing. And most wouldnt consider it fair to have an innocent man killed for a cause of “saving somalian waters from nuclear waste”. these pirates are taking innocent men some of which I know personally. If you think that they should keep ransoming innocent people go to Somalia yourself or interview the families of the captured men. thank you

  3. I’M sick to my stomach despite what is happening in my country,BUT for those three young men whome got killed by the most powerful nation on earth, Where are their bodies? Did you just kill and dump them in the water. I’m so interested to find out. Also where is the young man that you have captured alive. Just to let you know all four men have families.I never felt that the somaalian young men would kill capt. Richard phillip, to make my point of view clear.If they wanted to kill capt. Richard phillip they had 5days to do so.They where young,confused and didn’t have a way out.

  4. In 2010 polls, Filipinos should be well-educated. They must not choose candidates just because of popularity. Instead, those who have a real for the Filipinos. Vote PANLILIO FOR PRESIDENT!

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