Somali pirates attacked the container ship Maersk Alabama today for the second time in seven months. Private guards on board the US-flagged ship repelled the attack with gunfire and a high-decibel noise device.
A US surveillance plane was monitoring the ship as it continued to its destination, Mombasa in Kenya, while a pirate said the captain of a chemical tanker, the Theresa, hijacked on Monday with 28 North Korean crew had died of his wounds.
Pirates hijacked the Maersk Alabama last April and took ship captain Richard Phillips hostage, holding him at gunpoint in a lifeboat for five days. Navy Seal sharpshooters freed Phillips while killing three pirates in a night-time attack, according to Guardian.co.uk.
According to ABC News, "Pirates fired automatic weapons on MV Maersk Alabama who responded with fire," said an EU Naval Command Statement, "The crew managed to repel the attack and no casualties were reported."
The pirates' assault was countered by gunfire and a high-decibel noise device from a security team that is traveling aboard the Alabama to defend it from pirates.
Maersk spokesman Kevin Speers told reporters the ship was headed to Mombasa, Kenya, carrying food aid for war-torn Somalia when it was fired upon by a pirate boat carrying four gunmen.
Navy officials tell ABC News that all 20 members aboard the Maersk Alabama are now "safe and secure," and have resumed their journey.
It's the second time this year the U.S. flagged cargo ship has been attacked. In April, Somali pirates hijacked the Maersk Alabama and held the ship's captain Richard Phillips hostage on a lifeboat for five days before Navy snipers shot and killed his captors.
On Tuesday, pirates released 36 crew members from a Spanish tuna trawler, after holding them hostage for more than six weeks. One pirate told the Associated Press that the captors had been paid a $3.3 million ransom. A day earlier, pirates hijacked a North Korean vessel, and took its crew hostage. Pirates also are believed to be holding a British couple abducted in nearby waters nearly a month ago.
Somali pirates seized the Maersk Alabama in April. The crew managed to retake control of the ship, but in a dramatic turn of events, the pirates took the ship's captain, Richard Phillips, hostage. He was held at gunpoint aboard the Alabama's lifeboat for days before he was rescued by U.S. Naval forces, who killed three of his captors and arrested the fourth, Wall Street Journal informs.