President Barack Obama says the United States will do all it can to halt piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Mr. Obama made the comment in a speech delivered (at the Department of Transportation) Monday, a day after the U.S. Navy rescued an American cargo ship captain held hostage by Somali pirates.
The U.S. leader praised the military for the rescue of Richard
Phillips, and he said the United States will work with other countries
to protect shipping lanes off the Horn of Africa.
Mr. Obama did not respond to threats from Somali pirates who have vowed
to avenge the killing of three pirates during Sunday's rescue.
Pirates in the Somali pirate stronghold of Eyl told reporters Monday
that the United States is now their enemy, and that they may kill any
American hostages they take.
Islamist militants, who previously cracked down on piracy in Somalia, are now praising the pirates as national heroes.
While the U.S. hostage was rescued, other hijacking situations continue.
Somali pirates have taken two Egyptian fishing vessels and an Italian tugboat with 16 crew members to a fishing village (Las Qoray) in northern Somalia.
The pirates told VOA's Somali service Monday that they believe the
Italian tugboat was moving a load of hazardous waste through Somali
They said the Egyptian fishing boats were fishing in Somali territory
without permission. And they said crew members of the three ships are
Various pirate groups are now holding at least a dozen ships with more than 230 crew members.