Somali Sentenced for Acts of Piracy Against the USS Ashland

NORFOLK, VA—Jama Idle Ibrahim, a/k/a Jaamac Ciidle, of Somalia, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison for acts of piracy against the USS Ashland, which he believed was a merchant vessel that he intended to seize and hold for ransom.

Ibrahim pled guilty on August 6, 2010, to attacking to plunder a vessel, engaging in an act of violence against persons on a vessel, and to using a firearm during a crime of violence in regard to an attack against the USS Ashland on April 10, 2010.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Norfolk, made the announcement after Ibrahim was sentenced by United States District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.

“Today marks the first sentencing in Norfolk for acts of piracy in more than 150 years,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Ibrahim admitted his role in an armed attack on a U.S. Navy ship in the Gulf of Aden, after mistaking it 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.”

According to court documents, in and around April 10, 2010, Ibrahim and five other Somalis sailed on the high seas in the Gulf of Aden searching for a merchant ship to attack and seize, intending to plunder the vessel and hold the crew and contents for ransom. The six men sighted a ship they believed to be a merchant vessel—but which was in fact the USS Ashland, a United States Navy vessel—chased it, and, once they were alongside the vessel, began firing at the USS Ashland and the people on board. In the statement of facts, Ibrahim admitted that all six men were willing participants in the planned piracy and that the purpose of firing at the vessel was to cause the vessel to surrender to them, at which point they would board the vessel, seize the ship, its crew, and its contents.

The investigations of the cases in the Eastern District of Virginia and the District of Columbia are being conducted by the FBI, including members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin L. Hatch, Joseph DePadilla, and Raymond E. Patricco Jr. from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Trial Attorney Jerome Teresinski from the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on