By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
A presentation of the full video of the Somali pirate attack on the Maersk Alabama and new testimony about the assault from the ship's captain and chief engineer take place Tuesday as Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey hosts a hearing to call for action against boat captures around the Horn of Africa. "This violence and lawlessness will simply not be tolerated. These pirates have to be stopped," Lautenberg told Whispers. His should be the hearing of the week. While officials from the maritime industry, the Pentagon, the Coast Guard, and the Transportation Department will testify, sources say the testimony from the ship's captain, Richard Phillips, and chief engineer, Michael Perry, will provide the fullest account to date of the assault. Perry is expected to give details about his role in taking back the ship. What's more, sources say that a video will be shown of the initial pirate attack. Only snippets have been shown so far.
Lautenberg also plans to show just how bad piracy is. According to his office, there were 111 pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa last year. That's about a third of the worldwide number. About 84 have occurred already this year. Of course, piracy has boosted insurance costs some 10-fold, and those costs are typically passed on to consumers.
From Lautenberg's office:
PIRACY ON THE HIGH SEAS—PROTECTING OUR SHIPS, CREWS, AND PASSENGERS WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Tuesday, May 5, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg will chair a subcommittee hearing on Piracy on the High Seas.
Lautenberg will use Tuesday's hearing to examine issues within its jurisdiction spanning the operations of the commercial maritime industry, the Coast Guard, and the safety and security of our merchant fleet and their crews.
Piracy on the High Seas: Protecting our Ships, Crews, and Passengers Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security Subcommittee
Date: Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Hearing Start Time: 3:00 p.m.
Press Pre-Set Time: 2:15 p.m.
Hearing Location: Room 253, Senate Russell Building Witness List*
- Ms. Theresa Wayland, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense
- Rear Admiral Brian Salerno, Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security, and Stewardship, U.S. Coast Guard
- The Honorable Roy Kienitz, Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation
- Mr. Philip J. Shapiro, Esq., President and Chief Executive Officer, Liberty Maritime Corporation
- Captain Richard Phillips, MV Maersk Alabama on bareboat charter contract with Central Gulf Waterman
- Mr. Michael A. Perry, Chief Engineer, MV Maersk Alabama on bareboat charter contract with Central Gulf Waterman
*not necessarily in order of appearance