Sunday, March 19, 2006

Pirates Attack US Navy

The headline sounds like a joke. I can see a Monty Python skit now, an 18th century frigate attacking a modern navy vessel like Blackbeard against the USS Missouri. But Pirating is still a major problem in the Indian Ocean, and these pirates really did attack the Navy, and if you consider the USS Cole, it's not the first time. Families of the 17 who dies on the Cole are currently sueing the Sudan for $100 million. On Nov. 5, pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades at a 440-foot luxury cruise liner operated by Seabourn Cruise Lines. No one was hurt and the captain was able to get away before the pirates could board the ship.

Two U.S. Navy ships returned fire on Saturday on a group of suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, killing one and wounding five, Navy officials said.

The incident occurred in the Indian Ocean about 25 miles

off the coast of Somalia as the USS Cape St. George, a guided missile cruiser, and the USS Gonzalez, a guided missile destroyer, conducted maritime security operations.

A vessel was seen towing two smaller skiffs, the officials said. As boarding teams prepared to conduct a routine boarding, the Navy ships noticed the suspected pirates brandished what appeared to be rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

The suspected pirates then opened fire on the Navy ships. The two ships returned fire with small arms, the officials said.

One suspected pirate was killed and a fire ignited aboard the main vessel. The boarding teams took 12 other suspects, including the five who were injured, into custody, they said.

The boarding teams also confiscated a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and automatic weapons, the officials said.

No U.S. sailors were wounded in the incident.

Somalia's waters have become among the most dangerous in the world since warlords ousted military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Typically, armed pirates use speedboats to attack and board ships, including oil tankers.

Of course, Mohammed made his living by raiding caravans in the desert.
Strategy Page
reports; March 8, 2006: Somali pirates seized another fifty Yemeni fishermen, and their boats, off the coast. In the last week, twenty Yemeni fishing boats, and 83 crewmen, were seized by pirates, and released after the payment of ransom.
Thomas Jefferson went to war with Tripoli over such acts. Apparently it's just part of doing business at sea in the Islamic world.


Blogger LomaAlta said...

Islamic pirates in Somalia.
Jeferson and the shores of Tripoli.

Ironic how little things change over two centuries in some parts of the world. America will always need a powerful Navy and a tough Marine Corps.

March 19, 2006  
Blogger American Crusader said...

"From the shores of Tripoli"

This isn't anything new for the followers of Mohammed. Dating back at least as far as 1662.

The war fleets of the European powers could easily have defeated the Barbary pirate ships. Yet the Europeans agreed to the tribute treaties. Nations like England believed that by paying tribute they not only bought protection for themselves but also redirected the pirates to wreak havoc on the merchant ships of competing nations.
Sound familiar?

A new naval squadron under Commodore Edward Preble arrived in the Mediterranean in 1803. Preble aggressively restored the blockade of Tripoli harbor. But one of Preble's warships, the Philadelphia, ran aground while chasing a Tripolitan vessel. The Tripoli pirates captured more than 300 U.S. Navy officers and crew and imprisoned them. Pasha Yusuf now demanded $3 million for peace and the ransom of the American captives.

Commodore Preble realized that he could not leave the Philadelphia (a frigate with 36 cannons) in the hands of the Tripoli pirates. Fearful that retaking the ship under Tripoli's harbor guns would be too risky, Preble decided to destroy the frigate instead. Lieutenant Stephen Decatur and about 70 officers, sailors, and marines volunteered for what became one of the most heroic actions in the history of the U.S. Navy.

On the night of February 16, 1804, the 25-year-old Decatur and his men boldly sailed a captured pirate vessel next to the Philadelphia in Tripoli harbor. The Americans quickly boarded the ship, overwhelmed the Tripoli pirates guarding it, and set the frigate on fire. Decatur and all his men then escaped aboard their vessel without any casualties. As they sailed out of the harbor, the Philadelphia exploded.

A few months later, Commodore Preble assembled all his warships at Tripoli and bombarded the town and its harbor fortifications. In the meantime, Jefferson ordered a new U.S. Navy squadron to go to the Barbary Coast.

Late in 1804, William Eaton started on his plan to overthrow Pasha Yusuf of Tripoli. Eaton found Yusuf's brother, Hamet, in Egypt. Eaton then recruited with his own and borrowed money an incredible "army" of Arab horsemen, soldiers of fortune, and cutthroats. Eaton, along with Hamet and a handful of American marines, led this band 500 miles across North Africa to Derna, a port town controlled by Pasha Yusuf. With the aid of three U.S. warships, Eaton and his men stormed the town on April 27, 1805, and drove out its defenders. (In honor of this victory, the words: "To the Shores of Tripoli" were put on the Marine Corps' flag and later put in the Marines' Hymn.)

March 19, 2006  
Blogger C R Mountjoy - GDF said...

What could probably happen is that these pirates will claim defeat and then claim reparations. And, as usual, we kept the cost of thie lives down to a minimum. Wouldn't a better message have been to sink every vessel and put every pirate at the bottom of the ocean?

Thanks for the vivit to my site.

March 19, 2006  
Blogger Brooke said...

I agree. If we were to sink all the pirates...Problem of pirates solved and a loud and clear message will have been sent!

March 20, 2006  

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