IN APRIL 2009, THE CARGO SHIP MAERSK-ALABAMA WAS ATTACKED BY PIRATES OFF THE COAST OF ***LIA. This video tells the story of the four-day ordeal that culminated in the dramatic rescue of the ship captain and brought the issue of piracy into the public consciousness.
  • The U.S. Navy takes a strong stand against piracy, and is part of an international task force dedicated to the issue. Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) includes sophisticated monitoring of the world's oceans by both ships and aircraft.

    In this video, learn about the threats pirates pose to military and civilian operations, and what the U.S. Navy is doing to stop them.

    1. The Maersk Alabama, a cargo ship, was hijacked off the coast of Somalia in 2009. In what ocean did this crime take place?

      Pirates attacked the Alabama in the Indian Ocean.

    2. Most pirates operate off the large peninsula in East Africa sometimes called the Somali Peninsula. What is the common name of this geographic feature?

      The coastal country of Somalia dominates the Horn of Africa, which also includes Djibouti, Eritrea, and the landlocked nation of Ethiopia.

    3. Rear Admiral Michelle Howard explains how pirates use "low-tech" weaponry to attack ships. What weapons and tools does Adm. Howard mention?

      Adm. Howard says that pirates usually have one or two skiffs (small boats), RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades), AK-47s (automatic assault rifles), and boarding ladders.

    4. Vice Admiral William Gortney outlines how the U.S. Navy works with commercial shipping companies and the United Nations to patrol the region for pirates. What other international organizations work with CTF-151, the counter-piracy task force?

      Adm. Gortney says NATO and the EU (European Union), as well as individual nations, work closely with CTF-151.

    5. What are some "best practices" recommended by the Navy and CTF-151 to prevent pirate attacks?

      The task force recommends that ships in high-risk areas increase speed, remove external ladders, install razor wire, and pre-position fire hoses to repel pirates attempting to board the ship.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    civilian Noun

    person who is not in the military.

    military Noun

    armed forces.

    ocean Noun

    large body of salt water that covers most of the Earth.

    Encyclopedic Entry: ocean
    pirate Noun

    thief who steals from ships or ships' crews while at sea.

    sophisticated Adjective

    knowledgeable or complex.

    U.S. Navy Noun

    military branch whose mission is "to maintain, train, and equip combat ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas."