Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement concerning the hijacking of a U.S.- flagged ship, the M/V MAERSK ALABAMA, off the coast of Somalia:

 “The recent hijacking of a U.S.- flagged ship and its 20-man U.S. crew highlights the threat piracy poses to American interests and adds urgency to my calls for greater international commitment to combating piracy on the high seas.  I am encouraged by news reports that the crew may have recovered control of their ship.

 “I applaud the current efforts of U.S. Navy Combined Task Force 151 and our international partners.  However, pirate attacks are becoming more frequent and more brazen, in spite of the presence of U.S. and coalition warships in the region.  Clearly the situation requires an increase in the international effort to combat piracy.  Only by working together on an international basis will we be able to put a stop to this criminal activity that threatens both trade routes and regional stability. 

 “Somalia’s inability to patrol its own coasts and prevent pirate attacks only adds to the need to increase the international effort. Ultimately, the solution is on the ground in Somalia, where the pirates have been allowed to operate with impunity.”