Drug Overdoses Speculated As Cause of Death For Two Former Navy SEALs

Drug Overdoses Speculated As Cause of Death For Two Former Navy SEALs

By McCarton Ackerman 02/24/14

Police found traces of narcotics and hypodermic needles after the bodies of two dead private security personnel were found aboard Captain Phillips' famed ship.

MV Maersk Alabama. Photo via

Two American security officers were found dead last Tuesday on the merchant vessel Maersk Alabama, and drug overdoses are being reported as the likely cause of death.

The bodies of Jeffrey Reynolds and Mark Kennedy, both 44, were found in a ship cabin by a colleague and later identified by police on the African island of Seychelles. Reynolds and Kennedy worked for Trident Group, a Virginia-based maritime security services firm, and were also former Navy SEALs.

An autopsy will be conducted next week, but Seychelles police found traces of narcotics and hypodermic needles near their bodies. They have since suggested that their deaths “were a result of drug overdose.” Lt. Cmdr. Jamie Frederick, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman, also said the deaths "do not appear to be criminal in nature, related to vessel operations, the material condition of the ship or their duties as security personnel." However, the deaths are still being investigated as required by American law.

Trident Group President Tom Rothrauff called the loss of Reynolds and Kennedy “a shock” and said he was “absolutely clueless as to what happened.” But in response, shipping giant Maersk confirmed yesterday that Trident will begin random drug tests of its employees and will also review their shore-leave policy. The firm tried to downplay the new testing measures by declaring that "based on our experience with the contractor, this is an isolated incident.”

The Maersk Alabama ship has been subject to attacks from Somali pirates on three separate occasions, including the April 2009 attack made famous in the movie Captain Phillips (2013), but no casualties were recorded in any of the hijacking attempts.