An Act of Piracy: The Seizure of the American-flag Merchant Ship Mayaguez in 1975
Gerald Reminick. Palo Alto, CA: The Glencannon Press, 2009. 330 pp. Illus. Appens. Notes. Bib. Index. $22.95.
Seized en route to Thailand by Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, the Mayaguez was reputedly the first American merchant ship taken by a foreign country since our Revolutionary War. Here, author Gerald Reminick thoroughly dissects the hijacking aimed at asserting Cambodia's claim to territorial waters outside limits prescribed by international law. The book is an impressive history that features verbatim statements by many of those directly involved in the action.
The book's early chapters provide historical background on the fall of Cambodia's Khmer Republic to communist forces, the evolution since 1944 of the vessel that would be renamed SS Mayaguez, and accounts by crewmen of her capture in May 1975. After directing a successful mayday transmission under the enemy's nose, the skipper was relieved that "our military had been notified."