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Mass Maritime Academy Staff Teach How To Protect Against Pirates

By Ron Sanders, WBZ-TV
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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

BUZZARD’S BAY (CBS) — Administrators and instructors at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy found the deadly development in the latest American encounter with Somali pirates “devastating.”

Having experienced a five-day standoff involving a couple of their graduates in 2009, staff at the school have been vocal about drawing more attention to dangers of commercial shipping in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

U.S. military officials said Tuesday American citizens had been killed for the first time in the wave of pirate attacks in that region. Jean and Scott Adam, of California, and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle, were killed. Two pirates died in a confrontation with U.S. Navy forces, 13 were captured and remains of two others who were already dead were found on the sailing yacht Quest.

WBZ-TV’s Ron Sanders reports.

Captain Thomas Bushy and 600 cadets aboard Mass Maritime Academy’s Training Ship Kennedy just returned Sunday from a 43-day voyage. Although the Caribbean waters they transited are safer than those in which Somali pirates took the four American lives, the cadets are taught to protect the ship.

“We have procedures in place with fire hoses and locking down and procedures of that nature,” said Capt. Bushy, who cannot discuss all the measures in detail.

The cadets are taught anti-piracy tactics at the academy from which Capt. Richard Phillips graduated. Navy Seals and snipers rescued him from Somali pirates in a lifeboat nearly two years ago after the pirates tried to hijack the Maersk Alabama.

Shane Murphy, another Mass Maritime grad was second in command of that ship. The academy’s V.P. of Academic Affairs, Capt. Brad Lima, just returned from a conference in London where piracy prevention was on the agenda.

“To learn how to adapt to an unforeseen circumstance and come away alive, I think that’s a big part of what we’re all about here,” said Capt. Lima.

Although the cadets at Mass Maritime Academy learn about piracy prevention, Capt. Bushy says if pirates ever were to attempt taking the T.S. Kennedy, it would be a hard target.

“The ability to stealth up upon us would be very difficult. We have many cadets on watch. We have many cadets on lookout. We have cadets standing bow lookout, one on each bridge wing and one on the stern all the time,” explained Bushy, who said the international community needs to work with Somalia to create a government that won’t tolerate piracy.

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