FEBRUARY 20, 2014 —Two 44 year old former U.S. Navy SEALS were found dead in a cabin on Maersk Alabama February 18. The men were employed by Trident Group, Virginia Beach,VA, which supplies security guard services to Maersk Line Limited, Maersk Group’s U.S.-flag shipping unit.
Kevin N. Speers, a senior director for Maersk Line Limited, said in a statement that the security contractors boarded the vessel on January 29, and that their deaths were were “not related to vessel operations or their duties as security personnel.”
Maersk Line Limited contracts with Trident Group in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard security directives, he said.
“Contracted security is part of anti-piracy protection plans to safeguard crews and vessels,” he said. “In Maersk Alabama’s case, she is persistently in high-risk areas since she provides feeder service to the east coast of Africa. The vessel was cleared to complete cargo operations, and she is now at anchor awaiting further instructions.”
Seychelles authorities are conducting a full investigation of the circumstances surrounding the incident. There is no immediate indication as to the cause of death, but the deaths were not caused by operational activity.
Trident Group President and CEO Thomas Rothrauff said, “Seychelles authorities are conducting a full investigation of the circumstances surrounding the incident. There is no immediate indication as to the cause of death, but the deaths were not caused by operational activity.”
According to local media reports, the Seychelles police have identified the men as Jeffrey Reynolds and Mark Kennedy. Their bodies were found in Mr. Kennedy’s cabin by a colleague at around 4.30 pm.
A postmortem will be carried out on the bodies in order to establish the cause of the sudden deaths, while the police continue investigating the possible circumstances that could have led to the fatalities.
Because Maersk Alabama is a U.S.-flag vessel, the incident will also be investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Maersk Alabama was attacked by Somali pirates twice in the space of seven months in 2009. The first of these incidents was the April 2009 hijacking that was the subject of the Tom Hanks movie “Captain Phillips.” The second attack, in November 2009, was successfully repelled by an armed security team using Long Range Acoustic Device and small arms fire.