Maersk-Alabama Capt. Richard Phillips, right,
stands alongside Cmdr. Frank Castellano,
commanding officer of USS Bainbridge (DDG 96)
on Sunday after U.S Naval Forces rescued
Phillips off the coast of Somalia. (U.S. Navy/MCT)
By Shashank Bengali and Nancy A. Youssef
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
MALINDI, Kenya — With Somali pirates pointing an automatic rifle at a hostage American ship captain, U.S. Navy sharpshooters opened fire Sunday, killing the pirates and ending an extraordinary five-day standoff that marked the first seizure of a U.S. vessel by pirates on the high seas in at least two centuries.
Three pirates were killed, the Pentagon said. The captain, 53-year-old Richard Phillips of Underhill, Vt., was rescued unharmed and taken aboard a U.S. warship. A fourth pirate who had surrendered earlier also was being detained, and could face trial in the United States.