Category Archives: U.S Coast Guard

Obama hails rescue of American captain

By Jordy Yager

President Obama hailed the rescue Sunday of an American captain held hostage for four days off the coast of Somalia.

Richard Phillips, the ship captain, was freed unharmed after a firefight killed three of his pirate captors. The fourth pirate was captured and has been taken into American custody, according to news reports.

Obama praised Phillips’s courage in a statement pushing for greater safety measures in the region. The pirate attack on Phillips’s ship was the first on American sailors in 200 years, but it was the sixth attack in the past week along the lawless Somali coast.

“We remain resolved to halt the rise of piracy in this region,” Obama said. “To achieve that goal, we must continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, be prepared to interdict acts of piracy and ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes.”

Admiral Thad Allen of the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday echoed Obama’s comments, saying that the government and military were taking steps to ensure that future hijackings of in the region did not take place.

“We’re in the process of helping create a code of conduct for merchant ships so they can minimize the threats,” Allen said on ABC’s This Week. “Slow ships with low freeboard present a much greater target than faster ships and higher freeboard.”

Congress was spurred to action as well, as earlier this week Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for hearings on the mounting piracy threat in the region when Congress returns next week.

The armed pirates attacked Phillips’ ship, the Maersk Alabama, on Wednesday while in the Indian Ocean delivering food aid to Kenya for the World Food Program and the United States Agency for International Development.

The 20-member crew regained control of the ship from the attackers, but Phillips was captured and held for a reported $2 million ransom by the four pirates on one of the ships’ lifeboats.

Phillips attempted to escape from his captors on Friday by jumping into the water, but he was recaptured shortly thereafter.

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Filed under Capt. Richard Phillips, Kenya, Maersk Alabama, President Obama, Sen. John Kerry, Somali pirates, The Hill, U.S Coast Guard, World Food Program

Byrnes Picks Up Key Support For Freeholder

Press Release

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP (MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ) – Middletown Democratic Chairman Joseph Caliendo has endorsed Middletown Committeeman Sean Byrnes for the upcoming freeholder candidate selection contest at the Monmouth County Democratic Mini-Convention, to be held this Saturday.

“Sean Byrnes has the best chance of winning in November from among those who have expressed an interest to do so,” Caliendo said.

Caliendo said Byrnes is eminently qualified to become a freeholder. Byrnes is a retired U.S. Coast Guard Reserve commander, who operates a private practice law firm in Red Bank. Since he was sworn into office in January 2008, Byrnes has spearheaded the formation of Middletown’s Strategic Planning Committee, blocked Republican Party attempts at undoing the revaluation in Middletown, and fought to create more fiscal oversight of the township’s budget, among other accomplishments.

During his tenure in the military, Byrnes worked in a legal and financial oversight capacity, involved with budgetary and procurement activities, among others.

Among his other accomplishments, Byrnes is also a former Red Bank Board of Education member, according to Caliendo.

“I read that Rep. Frank Pallone has endorsed former Neptune Mayor Mike Beson for the freeholder spot. While Mr. Beson has impressive credentials, he is not a better candidate to defeat the Republican Party in November than Sean Byrnes,” Caliendo said.

The veteran Democratic chairman said Byrnes has already garnered strong grassroots support from Monmouth Democrats where it involves the upcoming freeholder contest.

“In this important upcoming county race, it is vital that Monmouth Democrats put up the best candidate they can to win in November,” Caliendo said. “The best person for the job is Sean Byrnes, without a doubt. If you can win in Middletown as a Democrat, you can win anywhere.”

Caliendo concluded that, because of the large number of voters that turnout from Middletown, the township plays an important role during county elections. Caliendo said he believes Byrnes will resonate with voters throughout the county, and especially in Middletown.

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Filed under Frank Pallone, Joe Caliendo, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Mike Beson, Monmouth County Freeholder Candidate, Red Bank Board of Education, Sean F. Byrnes, U.S Coast Guard