Admiral praises armed action to foil pirates

AP News
Posted: Nov 18, 2009 3:00 PM

The head of U.S. naval forces in the Middle East is praising action by armed guards that foiled a pirate attack off the coast of Somalia.

Vice Admiral Bill Gortney says Wednesday's case was the first time a major merchant ship with guards on board had repelled a pirate attack.

He told a Pentagon press conference the crew of the Maersk Alabama tried to use a device that makes a high-decibel noise _ but it was ineffective and the pirates kept coming. He says the pirates were thwarted because guards on the vessel shot at the attackers.

Officials have said they don't have resources to protect ships traveling the ocean off Africa and near the Arabian Peninsula and it's up to commercial shipping companies to do so.