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Helicopters from USS Dubuque provide cover as U.S. Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Raid Force boarded and seized control of MV Magellan Star 85 miles off the coast of Yemen early Thursday morning.
Helicopters from USS Dubuque provide cover as U.S. Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Raid Force boarded and seized control of MV Magellan Star 85 miles off the coast of Yemen early Thursday morning. (William Farmerie/Courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

A team of 24 U.S. Marines boarded a merchant ship in a pre-dawn raid Thursday morning, capturing nine suspected pirates who had seized the vessel a day earlier, according to Navy officials.

The MV Magellan Star, a German-owned ship flying under the flag of Antigua-Barbuda with a crew of 11, was carrying a shipment of steel chains when it was seized about 85 miles off the coast of Yemen. It sent out a distress call around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, according to Lt. John Fage, a Navy spokesman with 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain.

The suspected pirates were captured and transferred to a ship operating under the anti-piracy Combined Task Force 151. No injuries were reported during the incident.

“This was really about having the right people with the right capabilities in the right place at the right time,” said Fage.

The Marines are part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Maritime Raid Force and are assigned to USS Dubuque, an amphibious warship operating as part of the task force. The suspected pirates will remain in the custody of CTF 151 until a decision is made on their fate.

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