Late Night: High Seas Hijinx – Pirates and Monkeys Attack!

images.thumbnailArrrrr. Thats right matey, teh pirates be back. It was just last April that US flagged ship the Maersk Alabama was seized by Somali pirates causing a five day standoff finally resolved when Navy snipers took out the pirates which by then had the Maersk captain hostage in a lifeboat. The Maersk, its captain, crew and cargo were all intact and saved.

That was then, this is now; and now the Maersk Alabama, yep the same damn ship, has been involved in yet another pirate attack. This time, however, the pesky pirates were fended off by an onboard security team. From The Guardian:

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.

Four pirates in a skiff attacked the ship again today at about 6.30am local time, opening fire with automatic weapons from about 300 yards away, a statement from the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said. A security team repelled the attack by using evasive manoeuvres, small-arms fire and a Long Range Acoustic Device, which can beam earsplitting alarm tones.

Vice Admiral Bill Gortney of the US naval forces central command said the Maersk Alabama had followed the maritime industry’s best practices in having a security team on board. “This is a great example of how merchant mariners can take proactive action to prevent being attacked and why we recommend that ships follow industry best practices if they’re in high-risk areas,” he said in a statement.

Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the Chatham House thinktank in London, said the international maritime community was solidly against armed guards, but that American ships have taken a different line.

Aye, they be rough seas for teh Alabama, but she made it through unscathed this time. If you are wondering why the Maersk Alabama was back at it on the same route, refer back to this old post, which explains that when transporting American humanitarian relief supplies, organizations must use a ship chartered in the US, US flagged, and American crew pursuant to US law. There are not that many available for this task, and the Alabama is one of them. Fascinating factoid: the respective captains of the Alabama for the two pirate attacks are good friends and side by side classmates together at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Go figure.

And that is not the only news from the haunts of Davy Jones on the front burner today. Oh no. Back in March, as you may recall, an US submarine had a little ooopsie and collided with an US warship. Turns out it was because those randy sailors were too busy kickin out the jams with their rigged up juke joint boom boxes in the control rooms. From the New York Times the results of the Navy investigation are announced:

The crew aboard a U.S. submarine made dozens of errors before the vessel collided with an American warship in the Persian Gulf, an accident that exposed lax leaders who tolerated sleeping, slouching and a radio room rigged with music speakers, a Navy review found.

Navy investigators placed blame for the March collision on the submarine’s ”ineffective and negligent command leadership,” including what they called a lack of standards and failure to adequately plan for crossing the busy Strait of Hormuz.

Radios? Wacky behavior? The Straits of Hormuz?? Oh yeah, you just know the real culprit is The Filipino Monkey! Oh, and by the way, that darn Filipino Monkey haunts the Potomac too!

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72 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    Navy investigators placed blame for the March collision on the submarine’s ”ineffective and negligent command leadership,” including what they called a lack of standards and failure to adequately plan for crossing the busy Strait of Hormuz.

    I think someone is going to find a lump of coal in their stocking instead of a promotion this Christmas.

  2. Teddy Partridge says:

    Obviously, the pirates saw the picture of Obama bowing to the Emperor of Japan and decided he wouldn’t give them a hard time. Weakness!

  3. EvilDrPuma says:

    Maybe the pirates figured Runt Limpdick would stick up for them again if those mean old Americans started shooting.

  4. masaccio says:

    So how do the pirates deal with the money after they get it? Does someone send them a sack of money or does it go through a bank? Because if it goes through a bank, why can’t we just get it back?

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, believe it or not, there is a whole formal process for it with lawyers and everything. Often the money is dropped in cash bundles from helicopters, It is freaking amazing.

  5. georgewalton says:

    Can we hire the pirates and set them loose on Wall Street? Or would they actually feel quite at home there? Really, what is the difference between the bank bailout and what the Jolly Roger Inc. folks do on the high seas?

    Oh, yeah, the bank rip offs are all perfectly legal. Sorry, I forgot about that part.

    But then what did Woody Guthrie suggest: That some folks rob you with a gun, while others do it with a fountain pen?

    Indeed. On the high seas over here they are called Presidential and Congressional elections.

  6. Bustednuckles says:

    Aye, a few hot rounds zinging past yer head and four dead crew mates laying bleeding out in the bottom of yer skiff might give ya pause, someone ain’t fucking around anymore.

    Ransome that shit.

  7. Peterr says:

    Honest to God, The Kid just finished reading this as his take-home book from the school library.

    [How to Be a Pirate (Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III),] The sequel to How to Train Your Dragon (Little, Brown, 2004) continues the adventures of the son of Stoick the Vast and future leader of the Hairy Hooligan Viking tribe. Although the skinny, freckled Hiccup has more brains than the rest of the Hairy Hooligans put together, he has a hard time garnering respect from anyone, least of all his arch-rival, Snotlout.

    You gotta love a book with people who have names like Snotlout.

    • ratfood says:

      Was that by S. Clay Wilson? His work was a little too vile for me at the time and I usually just read the R. Crumb stuff around it. Maybe I’ll dust off my Zap Comics and give it another look.

      I was just reading that Wilson suffered a severe stroke in 2008 but at the time the wiki bio was written had made substantial recovery progress. Best of luck to him.

  8. drouse says:

    That skipper just might as well resign his commision. When it comes to command in the navy, a major oppsie like that is a dead stop to any further command and/or promotion.

  9. Gasman says:

    By now, surely everyone is aware of the more, ah, prosaic definition of “teabagging.” Surely a bit of teabagging going on aboard these all male pirate ships. That might be the “buggery” of which ye speak.

    When I heard about Snotlout, I thought, “Now there is a fine teabagger name.”

    • ratfood says:

      Wow that’s one of the most intricate I’ve seen. Scrimshaw from the 19th century gets some impressive appraisals on the Antiques Roadshow.

        • ratfood says:

          All the objet d’art created by sailors on whaling ships is pretty valuable today. I’ve forgotten the correct terminology but enjoy seeing the carved pie-crust crimpers(?) and the circular objects comprised of interlocking strips of bone.

          • ChristineEdmonson says:

            All this stuff at auction is pretty amazing.

            “circular objects comprised of interlocking strips of bone.”

            I’ll be showing this to my co-workers and try to figure out what this really is…ok?

            • ratfood says:

              They’re almost like lampshades but strictly decorative I think. The strips are hinged so the entire object can be expanded or contracted. Sometimes they are in sets of varying sizes that fit together. I’ve been trying to find some indication of what they are called but haven’t had any luck so far. Often found in collections of whaling art. I saw an amazing private collection (on TV) that belonged to a couple on Rhode Island.

    • freepatriot says:

      I think that keel-hauling is the one torture method that Cheney and his SEREd goons did NOT use. That we know of.

      I’m pretty sure he never quarted any soldiers in anybody’s house either

      still not impressed with his service

      hey, ew, Jon Stewart rubbed addington and deadeye in lou dobbs face

      if you haven’t seen it, Jon Stewart was playin in your playground, sorta …

  10. freepatriot says:

    so basically, on a topical perspective, to tie it all together and explain what it all means, I figure that our Sub Fleet is a danger to pirates

    jes not like you think

  11. klynn says:

    Ah bmaz, thanks for the birthday present. Two Filipino Monkey references in one day? That’s something special!

    Thanks for the laughs. It has been a good day, despite a child home with H1N1.

    Hey, not to go OT, what did you think of that Juan Cole link on the forged label on the arms seized?

    http://www.juancole.com/2009/11/20-year-old-letterhead-points-to.html

    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/11/17/crazy-pete-hoekstra-writes-a-letter-again/#comment-200010

    What is it about creating ME conflict based on forgeries?

    Anyway, those anniversaries of my 29th just get better every year!

  12. klynn says:

    Hey bmaz, not to go OT, what did you think about the forged label article from Juan Cole?

    It read like another chapter in the Ghorbanifar Timeline.

    The forgeries are getting a bit tiresome. However, we have had enough of them in 9 years that they are like breads crumbs now.

  13. klynn says:

    howdidbmazputthistogetherwithouteven1JohnnyDepppicture?

    Bawhhahahahh!

    Oh bmaz,(or mod) please feel free to delete comment 67. My edit to 66 did not post for over 30 minutes and so I reposted the material at 67. Then, my edit info showed up at 66 after posting my comment at 67. Crazy.

  14. robspierre says:

    There was a time when the Navy defended American ships from pirates on the high seas. In fact, the Marine Corps anthem commemorates such an event in Libya.

    Today, however, it appears that we use private goons for real military work and the military for generating profits for private enterprise.

    • PierceNichols says:

      The modern equivalent of the invasion of Tripoli would be going into the pirate havens and rousting those bastards with ground troops. Flattening the giant mansions they’ve built with their loot would be a good place to start.

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