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CURRENT ISSUE

ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

May 22, 2009

Maersk Virginia escapes pirate attack

Another Maersk Line Limited U.S.-flag ship--the Maersk Virginia--has had a brush with Somali pirates. Media reports say that an attack on the ship was foiled this morning by Canadian and Italian naval helicopters.

The incident occurred after naval helicopters thwarted an attack on the St. Vincent and Grenadines registered Maria K. The pirates then turned their attention to the Maersk Virginia, but turned away.

Media reports differ on which helicopters from HMCS Winnipeg and which from the Italian frigate Maestrale did what, but the upshot is that the Maestrale arrived on scene and nine pirate suspects are now in detention on board the Italian warship.

The Maersk Virginia incident came one day after the sole pirate suspect to survive the attack on the Maersk Alabama, Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, entered a "not guilty" plea to charges related to the case in a New York court room.

Maersk Line, Limited issued thge following statement:

Maersk Line, Limited reported today that pirates in the Gulf of Aden approached the M/V MAERSK VIRGINIA, a 950-foot 4300-TEU U.S. flag container ship owned and operated by the company, while en route to Salalah, Oman. The ship was not fired upon, and the nineteen (19) crewmembers, all U.S. citizens, are safe. The MAERSK VIRGINIA was traveling in the defined security corridor when the incident took place between 1000 and 1100 local time, about 70 miles south of Yemen.

Earlier today the same pirates unsuccessfully attacked another ship, and this ship's crew notified the MAERSK VIRGINIA that the pirates were headed in its direction. The VIRGINIA increased speed to more than 21 knots, began evasive maneuvers, mustered according to the vessel's security plan and contacted authorities. Naval warships already operating in the area responded to the situation and deployed helicopters to counter the craft. The craft closed to approximately 0.75 nautical miles of the VIRGINIA before turning away.

Maersk Line, Limited continues to evolve security measures aboard its ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean. The company is committed to ensuring the safety of its crew.


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