A pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden was imminent when the crew of the MV Magellan Star retreated to a secure room, or citadel, on board their ship and sent distress messages. Within 24 hours, U.S. Marines boarded and regained control of the Antigua-Barbuda-flagged container ship without a shot being fired.1 That U.S operation in 2010 was remarkably successful: The Magellan Star crew of 11 was safe, and the Somalis who attacked the vessel were detained.
With nine pirates on board the USS Princeton (CG-59), several U.S. government agencies needed to immediately and collaboratively address the investigative, logistic, and disposition challenges associated with the crime. Issues to be resolved included which agency would lead the investigation, who would prosecute, what regional states should be approached for support, and where the detainees would be held pending those decisions. Timely resolution would require briefings, senior-level discussions, and agreement among several U.S. government agencies.