International Incident Wednesday

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Somali Pirates Seize U.S. Flag Vessel (Fox News link)

Same story via Navy Times

(Shout out to Op For for giving everyone a heads up on the Navy Times link.)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Somali pirates Wednesday hijacked a U.S.-flagged cargo ship with 20 American crew members onboard, the shipping company said.

The 17,000-ton Maersk Alabama was carrying emergency relief to Mombasa, Kenya, when it was hijacked, said Peter Beck-Bang, spokesman for the Copenhagen-based container shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk.

In a statement, the company confirmed that the U.S.-flagged vessel has 20 U.S. nationals onboard.

Cmdr. Jane Campbell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said that it was the first pirate attack “involving U.S. nationals and a U.S.-flagged vessel in recent memory.” She did not give an exact timeframe.

Of course, the proper response would be swift, violent, and result in the deaths of every Somali pirate within a 25 mile radius of the seized vessel. Somehow I'm doubting the current administration agrees with me.


Crew regains control of ship.

NAIROBI, Kenya - Pentagon officials said Wednesday that the American crew of a U.S.-flagged cargo ship had retaken control from Somali pirates who hijacked the vessel far off the Horn of Africa.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because information was still preliminary. But they said the hijacked crew had apparently contacted the private company that operates the ship.

At a news conference, Maersk Line Ltd. CEO John Reinhart said that the company was working to contact families of the crew.

"Speculation is a dangerous thing when you're in a fluid environment. I will not confirm that the crew has overtaken this ship," he said.

A U.S. official said the crew had retaken control and had one pirate in custody. The official said the status of the other pirates was unknown but they were reported to "be in the water." The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Jeff Cooper said the desired result of an armed robbery is "a dead robber at the scene," which is tough to argue with. If several of the pirates were jetisoned overboard, so much the better.

It would be nice to see a "sea marshal" program, similar to air marshals, but instead of sworn law enforcment officers a few Navy SEALs aboard selected American flagged vessels, with proper rules of engagement, would be a pretty good deterent, I would think.

Meanwhile, in Iran:

U.S. Reporter Charged With Espionage in Iran

Iran charged detained American journalist Roxana Saberi Wednesday with
espionage, according to a Reuters report based on Iranian media.

This story has just broken, so we will update here as it develops.


Evidently, Ms Saberi was originally arrested in February for buying a bottle of wine:

Fears increase for missing journalist Roxana Saberi from UK Times online 03 Mar '09:

Iran accused a detained American journalist of engaging in illegal activities yesterday after her worried family spoke out about her arrest in Tehran a month ago.

Roxana Saberi, 31, who had reported previously from Tehran for the BBC, called her father in the United States on February 10 to tell him that she had been arrested for buying a bottle of wine.

“She called from an unknown place and said she’s been kept in detention,” Reza Saberi said. “She said that she had bought a bottle of wine and the person that sold it had reported it and then they came and arrested her.” Buying or selling alcohol is a crime in the Islamic republic.

Ms Saberi said that she had already been held for ten days and called back moments later to warn her family not to raise any alarm because she was to be released in two more days.

Neither her family in the US nor her friends in Tehran have heard from her since. Friends told Mr Saberi that arrest for buying alcohol would not result in such prolonged detention, leading him to suspect that it was used as a pretext to detain her.

Ahmedawhackjob and company are terminally paranoid about Americans of Iranian heritage "infiltrating" the country for purposes of overthrowing the government, so it looks like this is the direction this is headed in.

A female Canadian photo journalist of Iranian heritage, Zahra Kazemi, was killed in custody of the Iranians back in '03, a victim of "severe head injuries". Surprisingly, no one was ever charged with her death.

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