Marines board Magellan Star after Pirate capture

September 9th, 2010 - this article is free to republish with open public license

When the Magellan Star was boarded by pirates, things turned from bad to worse when they took the crew as hostages and demanded ransom money. Unknown to them at the time, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit happened to be close by, and the two would soon get a chance to meet face to face.

It was the first time that the US military would fight pirates aboard a commercial vessel where hostages were involved. Available options were limited, as the raiders could not be targeted with artillery while civilians close by. The captured crew would then effectively be used as shields, or martyred if something went wrong. It would take a siege, with the marines ship coming along side the Magellan star, and tieing off while possibly under fire.

The marine patrol numbered 25 hands, far less than the strength in numbers that is the usual heavy handed advantage enjoyed by the US military. Would the pirate crew be able to evade the pursuers, or eventually fend them off ?

CNN – U. S. Marines attempted to board a German-owned vessel that pirates had captured the day before off the coast of Somalia, the U. S. Fifth Fleet said.

It’s the first time U. S. military forces off Somalia have staged an action to board a commercial vessel in which pirates were on board with hostages,

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Date September 9, 2010