Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) praised the U.S. Navy for its successful rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, whose ship the M/V MAERSK ALABAMA was hijacked off the coast of Somalia last week.  Skelton, who in March chaired a hearing on combating piracy on the high seas, also called on the international community to consider steps to eliminate the pirates’ safe havens along the east African coast: 

            “I want to commend the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Navy SEALS, and all of those who played a role in the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips and the recovery of the MAERSK ALABAMA.  Captain Phillips’ rescue in particular demonstrates the Navy SEALS’ extraordinary capability to conduct complex and sensitive operations.  This event also demonstrates how critical it is for our forces to receive the training they need to be ready for any military contingency.

            “As long as safe havens exist along the Somali coast, we should expect this criminal piracy to continue.  The international community must come together, take a good look at our options, and seriously consider what can be done to eliminate the threat.  We cannot allow the criminals who threaten the safety of the seas to remain unchallenged.”