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US Marines rescue German ship from pirates

The Local · 9 Sep 2010, 17:39

Published: 09 Sep 2010 14:18 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Sep 2010 17:39 GMT+02:00

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In a pre-dawn raid, Marines "boarded and seized control of the Antigua-Barbuda flagged German-owned vessel M/V Magellan Star from pirates who attacked and boarded the vessel early September 8," a statement said.

No one was hurt in the operation, in which the Magellan Star's 10-man crew was freed and nine pirates arrested.

The raid was launched from the USS Dubuque after a Turkish frigate - part of the multinational force - responded to a distress signal from the Magellan Star.

The hijack attempt began after the pirates boarded the 8,000-tonne container ship, Jürgen Salamon, a spokesman for the Quadrant shipping company in the northern German city of Hamburg, told AFP.

"The crew had closed down the engines and locked themselves away in a safe room which the pirates were unable to find," he said.

After searching the ship for three hours the pirates picked up the phone and called the shipping company asking about the crew's whereabouts, the spokesman said.

"They were told the crew was on holiday," he said. "They then asked how to switch the engines back on, but were told they were broken."

The 11-man crew, comprising two Russians, two Poles, and seven Filipinos, spent the time hidden away in a small, cramped safe room whose entrance was not immediately obvious, the spokesman said.

A multinational force was set up in January 2009 to protect shipping lanes and stamp out piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

Story continues below…

Unofficial figures show 2009 was the most prolific year yet for Somali pirates, with more than 200 attacks - including 68 successful hijackings - and ransoms believed to exceed €50 million.

At least 23 foreign vessels with more than 411 crew members are still held by pirates, a piracy monitoring organisation, Ecoterra International, said in its latest report on August 31.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:07 September 9, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Turkish frigates, American Marines, etc. Very grateful to them. However, am I the only one that thinks we should have been able to take care of this business ourselves?
16:15 September 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I'm still at a loss to understand why these vessels do not employ ultra-sonic repellent devices, or at least water cannon, to defend against these pirates. The technology is there and the cost would be negligible compared to the ransoms paid, the lives lost and the cost of ongoing military operations to safeguard or recover these ships. It is inconceivable that teenagers in motorboats, using small arms, can commandeer huge ships in this age of ultra sophisticated technology and weaponry.
16:37 September 9, 2010 by NYsteve
@der grenadier...

Not sure if this applies in this situation...

As a former Marine myself, the US Marines are the only US armed force that can be sent into a country or foreign "domain" with it being an act of war since the Marines guard all US embassies abroad....

or it may be their training and availability....

again...Prufrock is correct.....if these ships carried some type of defense system, I am sure the joint powers making decisions about commercial sea traffic would agree that in these times of piracy in this area, it would be beneficial, cost-effective and just plain SMART! Unfortunately, the ransoms are getting larger and these are not just teenagers but organized gangs seeing a way to make a buck in a country that offers them NOTHING
17:10 September 9, 2010 by tallady
These pirates always have vietnam era RPGs with them,to threaten the ships. The seamen are not trained for repelling boarders,the use of high tech equipment would require specially trained personnel and expenditures that most shipping companies are unwilling to fork out,especially when the International community is suppling free protection,, albeit ,randomly. The shipping companies appear to think the ransoms are cheaper than hiring mercenaries and highly trained people for high tech defense. The dollar rules,,...always has. as previously stated these kids are working for a mafia that has good intel and very little risk of law enforcement involvement in a country that is ruled by war lords and criminals .
22:47 September 9, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen

I think you understood "the US" by my saying "ourselves". I'm sorry if I wasn't clear, but I meant Germany.
23:55 September 9, 2010 by wxman
Some things never change. This is no different than the necessary Marine interdiction of the Barbary pirates of nearly 200 years ago.
01:12 September 10, 2010 by Christine1
Yea!! Go US Marines!!!
13:06 September 10, 2010 by Huitzilopochteli
Good job Marines! The Navy Snipers were better though, they put bullets into the heads of the pirates. Maybe our shitty german parliament learns something from it. But I don think they will. Instead they will offer asylum to the pirates and allow resident permit for their partners and children...
18:15 September 10, 2010 by yanksavage
Marines Rock!
18:29 September 10, 2010 by Major B
We are more than happy to assist our allies, as the American taxpayer has been doing since the Marshall Plan. If I'm not mistaken, the Dutch were the last ally to lilberate a German owned vessal last spring. Oh yes, one more reason to roundly criticize the esteemed German defense minister's plan to reduce his armed forces from 265,000 to 160,00 "professional" solders. He says he is always amazed at those who can see 20 or 30 years in the future.

Let me get this straight. The fourth largest economic power in the world, a nation of 82 million that is primarily dependent on exports, has to depend on its allies to defend its commerical vessals in 2010, 65 years after the end of WWII. What's wrong with this picture?

And when you criticize my post, don't give me that stuff about "this is about conscripts and professionalizing German armed forces". No, this about capability, force projection and legally defending a nation's assets.
01:21 September 11, 2010 by Vargaz
The Major is right - 65 years ago the war ended and another despot, one of history's many, faded into oblivion, if not for the incessant rehashing of events by some stalwarts still stuck a past they can not change. America is all about war-profiteering - its a business run by the military-industrial special interests led by people like the Bush family and operates under the lip service misdirection of of protecting democratic idealism (remember Bush's "Read My Lips" retort?) War keeps the economy humming - that's why America is always in one. If Germany was smart they would very quietly form a highly trained ops unit specializing in the removal of anti-German threats just like Mossad does for Israel. When special agents like this are after you, there is NO place to hide - DFWM. That way everyone is happy and Germany can be Germany as they surely have a right to be. Damn the critics.
14:40 November 30, 2011 by DevilDogSemperFi
Pru.....The defense of the ship is up to the company. The Company's are limited on weapons that they can use. A good amount of US ships have used the LRAD. Sound determinant. Along with several other Other than lethal defenses
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