LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM- The seizure of a U.S. container ship today represents a dramatic change in the brazen actions of pirates operating off the coast of Somalia. “This latest bout of piracy is different from the previous attacks in that they have targeted container ships. It has long been thought that because of their speed and high freeboard, the distance between the waterline and the deck, boxships are less vulnerable to pirate attack,” Jim Wilson, Lloyd’s Register-Fairplay’s Middle East correspondent reported.
“This second seized container ship, the Maersk Alabama, is U.S.-flagged, U.S.-crewed and U.S.-manned, and it is a member of the U.S. Maritime Security Program, which is a fleet of military useful privately owned vessels,” explained Wilson. “This is basically the U.S. Navy’s reserve fleet, so it will be interesting to see how the owners and the U.S. respond.”
“Piracy continues to plague the waters off the coast of Africa. It is spreading. Pirates demonstrate the ability to attack just about any kind of ship at great distances from land. The solution to the problem, as ever, is the political situation in Somalia. Until there is peace on land there will be piracy at sea,” Wilson concluded.