French forces captured a suspected Somali pirate supply ship as the United States fought the marauders on the diplomatic front, seeking ways to keep them from their spoils.
A US freighter that escaped a pirate bombardment of gunshots and grenades steamed into Kenya’s Mombasa port today with an armed Navy guard.
One pirate issued a new threat yesterday to “slaughter” Americans, and Tuesday’s assault on a second US cargo ship, the Liberty Sun, underscored the outlaws’ ability to act with impunity despite international naval operations against them and mounting concern worldwide over how to end the escalating attacks off the Horn of Africa.
Pirates bombarded the US-flagged Liberty Sun with automatic weapons fire and rocket-propelled grenades, but its American crew of about 20 successfully blockaded themselves in the engine room and warded off the attack with evasive maneuvers.
The ship, carrying food aid for hungry Africans, including Somalis, was damaged “pretty badly” on its bridge, a US official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the record about the ship.
Windows were blown out and the crew had to put out a small fire, the official said, but they were still able to navigate. By the time the USS Bainbridge arrived five hours later, the pirates were gone.