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Following Recommended Security Practices Helps Ship Fend Off Pirates

-An attemptedpirate attack on the U.S. flagged ship Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean was thwarted by security forces aboard the vessel, according to the New York Times. It's the same ship that was seized in April, with the captain held captive until rescued by navy snipers.

Evasive maneuvers, Long-Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) and small arms fire were among the tactics used to fend off the attackers, according to a press release issued by the Navy concerning thefailed attack on the Maersk.

The release further notes:

     "Due to Maersk Alabama following maritime industry's best-practices such as embarking security teams, the ship was able to prevent being successfully attacked by pirates," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. "This is a great example of how merchant mariners can take pro-active action to prevent being attacked and why we recommend that ships follow industry best practices if they're in high-risk areas."

As piracy has become a greater threat, the European Union, Russia, China, and India have all stepped up efforts to combat it.

Last year, the EU implemented an anti-piracy escort program and gave the permission for escorts to sink attacking vessels. Thatanti-piracy program has been deemed a success by the European Parliament, which issued a statement on November 16, 2009, noting, "None of the registered and escorted "high risk" cargo ships had been successfully attacked."  But, it goes on to note, many vessels do not register with the escort program, and they, therefore, remain exposed.