Ex-Navy SEALs' deaths on Norfolk-based Maersk Alabama a mystery

By HUGH LESSIG | Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) | Published: February 20, 2014

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The two American security contractors found dead on the Maersk Alabama, the ship dramatized in the film "Captain Phillips," were stellar employees with long records of service, their employer said Thursday.

"These guys have been with us for a while," said Tom Rothrauff, president of Trident Group Inc., Virginia Beach. "This makes no sense — what has happened."

Trident did not identify the employees and have requested privacy for the families. However, Associated Press has identified them as former Navy SEAL Mark Daniel Kennedy, 43, of Baton Rouge, La., and Jeffrey Reynolds, 44.

The two men men were found dead in their onboard cabin Tuesday while the ship was docked in the Port Victoria in the Seychelles.

Rothrauff said he had no immediate word on the cause of death, but "the deaths were not caused by operational activity." That was confirmed in a statement released from A.P. Moller-Maersk.

Maersk Alabama is part of a U.S.-flagged fleet operated by Maersk Line Limited, a unit in A.P. Moller-Maersk. It performs military, government and humanitarian missions by transporting cargo on its fleet of ship, which ranges from tankers to the large container ships that are a common sight in Hampton Roads.

Somali hijackers targeted the ship in 2009 off the East Coast of Africa. Captain Richard Phillips was taken hostage and was later rescued when Navy SEALs aboard the USS Bainbridge shot and killed three of the hostage takers in a lifeboat.

The 2013 film "Captain Phillips," starring Tom Hanks and filmed partly in Hampton Roads, is based on that incident.

The Trident Group provides armed security and consulting services to several of the world's largest shipping companies.

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this story.

In this Nov. 22, 2009 file photo, crew members work aboard the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama after the ship docked in the harbour of Mombasa, in Kenya. Police in the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles said Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 that two American security officers were found dead Tuesday in a cabin on the Maersk Alabama, the ship hijacked by pirates in 2009, an event dramatized in the movie "Captain Phillips" starring Tom Hanks.


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