Somali pirates today attacked the Maersk Alabama for the second time in seven months, but guards on board the US-flagged cargo ship repelled the takeover attempt. When pirates attacked with automatic weapons early this morning about 350 nautical miles east of the Somali coast, guards on board the craft fired back, thwarting the attempted hijacking. A spokesman for the EU Naval Force called it "pure chance" that the Maersk Alabama had been targeted twice.
"It's not the first vessel to have been attacked twice, and it's a chance that every single ship takes as it passes through the area," he said. Pirates have greatly increased their attacks in recent weeks after seasonal rains subsided. A self-proclaimed pirate said yesterday that Somali hijackers had been paid $3.3 million for the release of 36 crew members from a Spanish vessel held for more than six weeks—a demonstration of how lucrative the trade can be for impoverished Somalis.