H.Res. 339: Expressing the sense of the United States House of Represensatives regarding the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, the kidnapping of Captain Richard Phillips by Somali pirates, the rescue of Captain Phillips by United States Navy SEALs

H.Res. 339

Expressing the sense of the United States House of Represensatives regarding the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, the kidnapping of Captain Richard Phillips by Somali pirates, the rescue of Captain Phillips by United States Navy SEALs

Sponsor
Sen. Bernard Sanders

Date
April 22, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.Res. 339 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Wednesday, April 22, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The bill was introduced by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) on April 21, 2009, and referred to the Committee on Armed Services, which took no official action.

Bill Summary

H.Res. 339 would express the sense that the House of Representatives:

  • "Commends the crew of the Maersk Alabama and Captain Phillips, who selflessly placed himself in harm's way to protect his crew;
  • "Recognizes the United States Navy, the crews of the USS Bainbridge, Boxer, Halyburton, and Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 for their role in the rescue;
  • "Congratulates the Navy SEALs on the scene for their decisive action that resulted in the rescue of Captain Phillips; and
  • "Joins all Americans in expressing great relief that the crew has returned home safely."

Background

According to the resolution's findings, the Maersk Alabama, a U.S. flagged ship carrying relief aid to Kenya and Somalia, was hijacked by Somali pirates on April 8, 2009. During the attack, the crew of the Maersk Alabama overpowered one of the pirates and ship's commander, Captain Richard Phillips, offered himself in return for the liberation of his ship and crew. Captain Phillips was then held at gunpoint by four Somali pirates in an 18-foot lifeboat while the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge arrived on the scene. The Bainbridge was supported by the USS Boxer and the USS Halyburton, which stood by to keep the pirates from making an escape and to provide any necessary medical support. After five days of being held in captivity at gunpoint by the pirates, Captain Phillips was safely rescued by U.S. Navy SEALs. The attack was the first pirate-related assault on a U.S. flagged in modern American history.