gather information on the causes
and extent of piracy and to understand its effect on international
“International piracy on the
high seas is a complicated issue
that cannot be resolved overnight,”
said subcommittee chairman Rep.
Elijah Cummings, D-Md.
To date, no U.S.-flagged vessels
have been seized by pirates, but a
possible increase in shipping costs
through the Horn of Africa —
where a majority of the attacks
take place — could pose problems
in the current economic crisis.
“The threats that piracy poses to
the United States, our international
partners, and the industry and seafarers who make their living on the last
global commons are multifaceted,”
Rear Adm. William Baumgartner,
Coast Guard judge advocate general
and chief counsel, said at the hearing.
“The response to these threats
requires a broad array of legal
authorities, operational capabilities,
skills and competencies, and the
support and expertise of numerous
U.S. government, international and
commercial entities,” he said.
“Piracy is an international problem that requires international
solutions,” said Rear Adm. Ted
Branch, the Navy’s director of information, planning and security for
Suspected pirates hold their hands in the air as directed by the crew of guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf as the ship’s visit, board, search and seizure team
prepares to apprehend them Feb. 11 in the Gulf of Aden. Vella Gulf captured
another group a day later. The suspects were turned over to a temporary holding center aboard the dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Lewis and Clark.
said Gillian M. Brigham, spokeswoman for Sealift Logistics Command Central. The ship also provides berthing for part of the task
force staff and serves as a temporary
holding center for suspected pirates
apprehended during the operations.
Sixteen pirates held on the ship
were captured Feb. 11 and 12 by the
crew of the cruiser USS Vella Gulf.
Area Maritime System currently
MSC Joins Coalition
A dry cargo/ammunition ship operated by the Military Sealift Command
(MSC) has joined the campaign to
combat piracy in the approaches to
the Gulf of Aden.
USNS Lewis and Clark, normally
engaged in resupplying carrier strike
groups, was drafted to support
Combined Task Force 151, the coalition naval group assigned to conduct
anti-piracy operations in the region.
The ship is serving as a launching
platform for H- 60 Seahawk helicopters engaged in anti-piracy missions,
Navy Global Hawk
Deployed to Middle East
The Navy has deployed one of its two
experimental RQ-4A Global Hawk
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to
the U.S Central Command area of
operations, said Rear Adm. William
Shannon, the Navy’s program executive officer for unmanned aviation
and strike weapons.
The UAV, staged to an undisclosed
location, will be used in surveillance
operations, augmenting the P- 3 maritime patrol aircraft in theater. The
Global Hawk is operated in theater
by a detachment of Commander
Patrol Reconnaissance Wing Five.
The high-altitude, high-endurance
UAV is one of two that have been participating since 2004 in the Global
Hawk Maritime Demonstration, a
program to develop concepts of operations, tactics, techniques and procedures for maritime unmanned aerial
systems, such as the RQ-4N Broad
Navy Again Delays
Kitty Hawk’s Demise
The Navy scheduled a decommissioning ceremony for its last oil-fired
aircraft carrier, USS Kitty Hawk, for
Jan. 31 in Bremerton, Wash. The festivities went ahead as planned, but
not as a decommissioning ceremony.
The Navy delayed the decommissioning because its newest carrier,
USS George H.W. Bush, although
commissioned on Jan. 10, had not
been formally accepted by the Navy.
The Navy is required by law to maintain a force of 11 aircraft carriers.
Rather than reschedule the
decommissioning ceremony, the
Navy instead held a “Heritage
Ceremony” to honor the ship’s 47
years of service and the thousands
of crew members who served on
A source familiar with the carrier
said it remains in excellent material
condition and could potentially serve
many more years. The ship will be
berthed at the Puget Sound Naval
Shipyard for an indefinite period. ■
Reporting by Seapower Correspondent
Megan Scully. Managing Editor Richard
C. Burgess and Assistant Editor John C.
Marcario contributed to this report.