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Crew of Va. ship in piracy drama sues for $50M

More than half the crew members of a container ship that was at the center of a piracy drama off Somalia in April 2009 are suing for nearly $50 million, contending their captain ignored warnings to sail clear of pirate-infested waters off Africa.

The Virginian-Pilot (http://bit.ly/JsIQoz) reported Saturday that the lawsuits have been filed by 11 crew members aboard the Maersk Alabama, a Norfolk, Va.-based ship. The five-day standoff ended when Navy SEALs killed three of Capt. Richard Phillips' captors.

While Phillips was hailed as a hero, his former crew members allege his actions put them in grave danger when the ship sailed into waters where pirates were known to patrol.

Phillips is not named in the lawsuits. Maersk Line Ltd., which owns the ship, says the lawsuits are without merit.

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Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com

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