Crew of Va. Ship in Piracy Drama Files Lawsuits

By: associated press
By: associated press

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- More than half the crew members of a Norfolk-based container ship that was at the center of a piracy drama off Somalia in April 2009 are seeking damages totaling nearly $50 million.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Saturday that the lawsuits have been filed by 11 crew members aboard the Maersk Alabama.

The five-day standoff ended when Navy SEALs killed three of Capt. Richard Phillips' captors.

While Phillips was hailed as a hero, his former crew members allege the New Englander's actions put them in grave danger when the ship sailed within about 250 miles of the African coast despite warnings to stay at least 600 miles offshore because of the threat of piracy.

The ship's owner and a contractor are named in the suits, filed in Norfolk and Alabama.

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