Two U.S. security officers found dead in Seychelles
NAIROBI, Kenya — Two American security officers have been found dead on a ship made famous when it was hijacked by Somali pirates, according to a statement by Seychelles police on Wednesday.
The two Americans — Jeffrey Reynolds and Mark Kennedy, both 44 — were found dead Tuesday in a cabin on the Maersk Alabama, according to the police. The ship was hijacked by pirates in 2009, an event dramatized in the movie “Captain Phillips” starring Tom Hanks.
The two men’s bodies were found on Tuesday in their cabin on the ship where it was berthed in Port Victoria in the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles.
The police gave no cause of death but said a postmortem has been scheduled.
The U.S. Coast Guard stated from its headquarters in Washington that it is also investigating the deaths.
The two men worked for U.S.-based Trident Security, according to the Seychelles police statement. Former military personnel frequently provide security on board ships sailing through the waters off Somalia to provide security against pirate attacks.
Trident Security was founded by former U.S. Navy SEALs in 2000 and employs former special warfare operators to provide security. Requests to Trident for information about the two men were not immediately answered on Wednesday.
The Maersk Line said the cause of death is under investigation but is “not related to vessel operations or their duties as security personnel.”
The Maersk Alabama’s home port is in Norfolk, Va., where its parent company Maersk Line, Ltd. is also headquartered. The Maersk Alabama transports food aid to East Africa in support of the U.S. government’s “Food for Peace” program, according to the company. Crew members also help support the Bee Hive Children’s Home in Mombasa, Kenya.
Several crew members who were aboard the ship when it was hijacked in 2009 are currently suing Maersk Line Ltd. and Mobile, Ala.-based Waterman Steamship Corp. over the attack. The hijacking captured world headlines in 2009 and again when the movie, “Captain Phillips” was released recently. The five-day hijacking standoff ended when Navy SEALs aboard the USS Bainbridge shot and killed three of the pirates who were holding Capt. Richard Phillips in a lifeboat.
Nine crew members in the lawsuit filed in Alabama in 2012 say they suffered physical and emotional injuries after Somali pirates boarded. Some crew members were held at gunpoint with Phillips, and others hid in an engine room.
AP writer Brock Vergakis contributed to this report from Norfolk, Va.