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Maersk Alabama Targeted Again by Pirates

U.S. Navy(WASHINGTON) -- The Maersk Alabama was targeted again by Somali pirates Tuesday, a U.S. official tells ABC News. This is at least the third time the Alabama has been targeted by pirates, including the famous incident involving Captain Phillips in the spring of 2009.
The official says that four suspected pirates approached the ship in a skiff and a hook ladder was visible in the boat. When the skiff came within half a nautical mile the ship’s captain authorized warning shots to be fired. The pirates continued to approach and the captain ordered aimed shots, which convinced the skiff to turn around and sail away.
Had the ordered shots been fired, they would have been fired by contracted security on board, something that was added to the Alabama after the Captain Phillips incident.
According to NATO’s counterpiracy operation, an attempted pirate attack that matches the event described to ABC News occurred Tuesday in waters between Kenya and Madagascar. It warns that “a Pirate Attack Group consisting of one white skiff with four POB (persons on board) with hooks and ladder was reported” and that the pirates are still in the area.
In April 2009 the ship was hijacked by pirates who were overpowered by the crew, but not before they captured the ship’s captain, Richard Phillips, who was held for days in one of its lifeboats until Navy snipers killed his captors.
The second time was in September 2010, when, according to the London-based International Maritime Organization, five pirates armed with AK-47s in a skiff targeted the ship as it was sailing off the Somali coast.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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