Updated 04/18/2009 11:56 AM
Accused Somali Pirate To Stand Trial In NYC
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An accused Somali pirate who authorities say was part of the attack on a U.S.-based cargo ship off the African coast last week will be brought to New York City to stand trial.
It's believed the accused hijacker, identified as Abduhl Wal-i-Musi, may be as young as 17 years old.
He is expected to be tried in Federal Court on Worth Street and could face a maximum of life in prison if convicted for his role in the attack, in which three other pirates were killed in a five-day gun fight with the U.S. Navy SEALs.
The FBI in New York will try the case because of its experience handling cases with citizens of African nations.
All 21 crew members of the hijacked vessel, including Harlem resident William Rios, came through the ordeal safely.
The ship's captain, Richard Phillips, received a hero's welcome upon his return to his hometown of Underhill, Vermont Friday.
"I am just a bit part in this story," said Phillips. "The small part of seaman doing the best he can like all of the other seamen out there."
In his brief address to well wishers, Phillips heaped praise on the military and his crew on the Maersk Alabama, but offered little in the way of details about what it was like being held hostage by pirates off the waters of Somalia.
"[The Navy SEALs] are the real superheroes; they're the titans," Phillips said. "They are doing an impossible job and they did the impossible with me and I would like you to know they are out there. They are everyday people we will not recognize and I will not divulge, but they did an excellent job and they saved me."
Rios, who returned to New York City Thursday, told NY1 that while he was overjoyed to be back with his wife, he is determined to get back on the water.
"It was outrageous, outrageous," Rios said of the hijacking. "But the Lord was with us and a lot of experience we had, and a lot of training. We need a lot of training for these types of circumstances. But I'm proud of us all. We stood like heroes; we stood together."
Rios says he plans to speak more about his experience at church on Sunday.
Representatives from several federal agencies met Friday to work on a solution to the ongoing problem of pirates off the African coast.