3. The Lifeboat Pirate “Crisis”
On April 9, 2009, for the first time in 180 years, an American ship – the Maersk Alabama – was seized by pirates. The four Somalian gunmen robbed the passengers and boarded a life boat with a hostage. They have previously attacked six other ships and received millions in ransom money,though none of their hostages were American citizens. But, even when the USS Bainbridge – a 900-foot Navy warship – caught up to the pirates’ 28-ft. lifeboat, they still refused to surrender.
U.S. Navy SEAL snipers received permission to use deadly force on April 12. Less then an hour later, they took out three of the pirates while a team of divers restrained the fourth one for questioning. The hostage, Captain Richard Phillips, volunteered to be the one taken off the Maersk Alabama.
Landing three head-shots moments after the dive team disarmed one of the pirates was quite a feat. But critics argue that saving the Captain should have been top priority, questioning why all four culprits weren’t taken out without risking a hostage.