US Navy: Pirates fire on US helicopter
In Dubai a U.S. Navy helicopter was fired at by Somalian Pirates in a highjacked ship, the helicopter which is based on the USS Chancellorsville was not hit and there were no injuries. The First attack by pirates on an American military aircraft.
The copter was flying on Wednesday over a Taiwanese-flagged fishing vessel, the Win Far, which pirates seized along with its 30-member crew in April and were holding south of the Somali port town of Hobyo
The large caliber weapon open fired on the helicopter from 3,000 yards (meters), the Navy did not fire back, said in a statement.
The Maersk Alabama was siezed by four Pirates that took Richard Phillips hostage for five days until U.S. snipers killed three of the captors.
Lt. Nathan Christensen, a Bahrain-based spokesman for the Navy's 5th Fleet told the Associated Press that Wednesday's shooting marks the first time pirates shot at U.S. Navy helicopters conducting daily surveillance flights over areas where pirates anchor hijacked vessels and await ransom.
Christensen said four other merchant ships and 105 crew members are currently being held by pirates near the Win Far. They are anchored along Somalia's coast, between port towns of Hobyo and Eyl, Christensen said in a phone interview on Thursday.
The shipping route in and out of Suez Canal causes an increase of Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere off the coast of Somalia. During the beginning of 2009 pirate attacks have doubled, while Somalia doesn't have a central government since 1991.
the country's interim government is embroiled in a struggle with Islamist extremists with suspected al-Qaida links