Maersk: Alabama leaves port after probe of deaths
FILE - 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. (AP Photo, File)
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The Maersk Alabama has left port from the island nation of Seychelles after authorities there completed an onboard investigation into the deaths of two former Navy SEALs aboard the ship that was the focus of a 2009 hijacking dramatized in the movie "Captain Phillips," a company spokesman said Thursday.
The Americans were security officers who were found dead Tuesday in a cabin on the ship while berthed in Port Victoria in the Indian Ocean.
Seychelles police have given no cause of death for Michael Daniel Kennedy, 43, and Jeffrey Keith Reynolds, 44.
On Thursday, police spokesman Jean Toussaint, noted that officials were awaiting autopsies and said, "As far as I know there is no evidence of physical trauma" on either man's body. He also said he wasn't aware that the Maersk Alabama had been cleared to leave and couldn't comment on that report.
The U.S. Coast Guard has said it also is investigating the deaths.
The Maersk Alabama is a Norfolk, Va.-based container ship that provides feeder service to the east coast of Africa and employs security contractors to provide anti-piracy services. The two men who were found dead worked for a Virginia Beach, Va.-based maritime security firm, The Trident Group.
In a statement posted on its website, The Trident Group President Thomas Rothrauff said there "is no immediate indication as to the cause of death, but the deaths were not caused by operational activity." Rothrauff wrote that the next of kin have asked that no further information be released and that their privacy be respected.
The Maersk Alabama's owner, the Norfolk, Va.-based Maersk Line Ltd. also has said the deaths were not related to security duties or ship operations. Company spokesman Kevin Speers said Thursday that the ship had already gotten underway.
The Trident Group was founded by former Navy SEALs and hires former special warfare operators to perform security. On Thursday, the Navy confirmed that Kennedy and Reynolds belonged to the SEALs, an elite unit of the military's special operations forces who are sometimes called upon to combat piracy.
In 2009, Navy SEALs aboard the USS Bainbridge shot and killed three of the pirates who were holding Capt. Richard Phillips in a lifeboat, bringing the five-day hijacking standoff involving the Maersk Alabama to an end. The "Captain Phillips" movie starring Tom Hanks as Capt. Richard Phillips was released last year.
Kennedy, whose home of record with the Navy was Baton Rouge, La., enlisted in 1995 and completed his final tour of duty in 2008, according to a summary of his record provided by the Navy. Kennedy was assigned to an East Coast-based special warfare unit, according to the record. Virginia Beach serves as the home of the Navy's East Coast SEAL teams. He had medals for serving in campaigns in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.