Drugs implicated in Maersk Alabama guard deaths

FEBRUARY 21, 2014 — Traces of narcotics and hypodermic needles were found with the bodies of the two security guards discovered dead on Maersk Alabama, CNN reports, citing a  Seychelles government official, who spoke on condition of not being identified. The official said the presence of drug traces and paraphernalia "would suggest that their deaths were a result of drug overdose."

The bodies of Jeffrey Reynolds and Mark Kennedy were found in Mr. Kennedy's cabin by a colleague at around 4.30 pm, February 18 (see earlier story). Both were 44 year old former Navy SEALS employed by Trident Group, Virginia Beach,VA, which supplies security guard services to Maersk Line Limited, Maersk Group's U.S.-flag shipping unit.

"We are working with the Trident Group to ensure the security personnel on Maersk Line, Limited vessels adhere to Maersk’s zero tolerance policy on the use of drugs and alcohol," media report Maersk Line, Limited spokesman Kevin N. Speers as saying.

Maersk Line said it is to immediately review all security personnel records to confirm that drug tests, background checks and training requirements are current. It also plans to audit how it hires, trains and evaluates its staff and is re-evaluating its shore-leave policy.

In addition, the Trident Group will implement random drug testing to better screen its staff, Maersk Line said.

The Maersk Alabama was attacked by Somali pirates twice in the space of seven months in 2009. The first of these incidents was the April 2009 hijacking that was the subject of the Tom Hanks movie "Captain Phillips." The second attack, in November 2009, was successfully repelled by an armed security team using Long Range Acoustic Device and small arms fire.