February 22, 2011

"The confrontation began mid-morning Tuesday local time, at 1 a.m. Eastern time, after a pirate fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the Sterett."

NYT "Thirteen pirates were taken into American military custody and two were killed during the confrontation; the military offered slightly different accounts of events that led to their deaths. Two other pirates were found dead on the yacht, apparently killed by fellow pirates, and two more were negotiating aboard a nearby Navy ship." By J. DAVID GOODMAN

'American officials had opened a channel of communication between the pirates’ financier as well as elders from their village to help negotiate the hostages’ release. “There was a dispute about money and the situation went south quickly,” said one American official involved in the discussions.

'Ecoterra International, a nonprofit group with offices in East Africa that tracks pirate activity, said that the deadly confrontation may have been set in motion by an attempted escape by one of the hostages.

'The Navy made contact and started negotiations with the pirates shortly after it began shadowing the yacht. On Monday, two of the pirates boarded the Sterett, by now some 600 yards from the Quest, to continue talks, and stayed on board the Navy destroyer overnight.

'Almost immediately gunfire erupted from inside the cabin of the yacht, Admiral Fox said, and several pirates appeared at its bow with their hands in the air.

'In response, the military said, a small rescue force of 15 Navy Seals in two high-speed assault craft moved to board the Quest.'

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