Three Regions your Navy
combats piracy around the globe
The U.S. Navy is forward deployed across the globe working with its international partners protecting international shipping, and deterring, disrupting and suppressing piracy.
There are three main regions the Navy focuses its efforts to combat piracy.
Horn of Africa
Motivated by escalating ransom payments that grew to millions of dollars, Somali men turned to piracy in the mid-2000s. As a result, piracy evolved from a fairly ad hoc, disorganized effort to a highly developed criminal enterprise that focused on hijacking entire merchant vessels in demand for ransom.
Gulf of Guinea
The majority of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea occur within 12 nautical miles of the coast. More often, armed robbery and piracy in this region are focused on kidnapping crew for ransom and stealing cargo.
Nearly one quarter of the world’s commerce and half its oil pass through the Strait of Malacca and South China Sea. The majority of piracy incidents are quickly executed, non-confrontational “smash and grab” operations that take place within territorial waters while ships are at anchor or berthed.
Gulf of Guinea Piracy
SE Asian Piracy
Find Out More about the Navy's Fight Against Piracy
One of the most high-profile piracy incidents was the 2009 hijacking and kidnapping from the U.S.-flagged M/V Maersk Alabama container ship off the Somali coast. The ship's master, Captain Richard Phillips, was taken off the ship and held hostage in a lifeboat. U.S. Navy ships and assets present in the region responded to the incident.
Setting the Scene
Several U.S. and international units worked to rescue Captain Phillips and the M/V Maersk Alabama.
The region was very active in the spring of 2009. At least six pirate attacks occurred in the area during the week of the Maersk Alabama incident. Combined Task Force 151 and the U.S. Navy worked together to end the flurry of attacks and also encouraged merchant shipping companies to develop new means of self-defense.
"This was an incredible team effort... of all the men and women
who made this rescue possible. The actions of Captain Phillips
and the civilian mariners of the Maersk Alabamawere heroic."
News as it Broke
As the events unfolded, regular updates on navy.mil kept the public up to speed on the unfolding situation.
Flight of the ScanEagle
A ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle launched by the Navy kept an eye on the action. Information from the UAV was critical to the rescue.
M/V Maersk Alabama incident made into Hollywood movie
The Department of Defense approved assistance in filming the "Captain Phillips" script in May 2012. The assistance consisted primarily of filming aboard USS Truxton, USS Wasp and USS Halyburton while underway in the vicinity of Norfolk, Va., June 15-30, 2012. The movie, released Oct. 11, 2013, is based on the true story of Captain Phillips and the Alabama hijacking. Navy Petty Officer Danielle Albert appeared in the film and All Hands Magazine discussed her role in the movie. Watch the interview here.
My Sea Story
Former Commanding Officer of USS Bainbridge, Captain Castellano, tells his sea story about piracy in the waters near Somalia.