A U.S. military spokesman said it was possible that 15 pirates detained after the killing of four American yacht enthusiasts could be sent to the United States to face trial, the Associated Press reports. The military and Justice Department are working to figure out the next steps for the pirates, said Bob Prucha, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command in Florida. The 15 are being held on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise off East Africa.
The International Maritime Organization says that in the last year, there have been 286 piracy-related incidents off the coast of Somalia resulting in 67 hijacked ships, with 1,130 seafarers on board, the Christian Science Monitor reports. In 2009, four Somali pirates seized the cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama and its crew of 20. After several days, during which ship captain Richard Phillips was held hostage in a lifeboat, Navy SEAL snipers killed three of the pirates. The surviving pirate, Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, was brought to New York for prosecution. He pleaded guilty to two felonies, and last week got the maximum prison sentence of 33 years and nine months. Federal Judge Loretta Preska said, “It is this marked uptick in piracy and armed robbery at sea and the need to deter other individuals from undertaking this kind of conduct” that “makes the higher sentence absolutely necessary.”