WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Somali man who pleaded guilty for his role in an attack against the USS Ashland warship in April was sentenced on Monday to 30 years in prison, the first sentencing in a U.S. piracy case in more than 150 years.
Jama Idle Ibrahim, 38, was one of six men brought to the United States and charged with the April 10 attack on the USS Ashland, a warship that supports amphibious operations, in the Gulf of Aden. They mistook the ship for a merchant vessel.
“Piracy is a growing threat throughout the world, and today’s sentence, along with last week’s convictions, demonstrates that the United States will hold modern-day pirates accountable in U.S. courtrooms,” said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride.
Ibrahim in August pleaded guilty to attacking to plunder a vessel, acts of violence against persons on a vessel, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.
It was the first sentencing in a U.S. court in more than 150 years for acts of piracy, MacBride said.
Ibrahim also pleaded guilty in September to piracy charges for another attack in the Gulf of Aden two years ago. He and others captured a merchant vessel the M/V CEC Future and held it for more than two months, releasing it only after a ransom was paid.
Last week, a jury in Norfolk, Virginia convicted five men from Somalia on piracy and other related charges for a separate attack on April 1 on the USS Nicholas Navy frigate.
Pirates operating off the coast of Somalia have hijacked
vessels in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden for years, making millions of dollars in ransoms by seizing ships, including oil tankers, despite the presence of dozens of foreign naval vessels.