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April 10th, 2009
08:45 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Showdown at Sea

The guided missile frigate USS Halyburton, with helicopter capabilities, is now at the scene.

The guided missile frigate USS Halyburton, with helicopter capabilities, is now at the scene.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight, more pirate ships are on the move off the coast of Somalia. They're trying to find the lifeboat holding American Richard Phillips, the captain of a U.S. freighter, who was kidnapped Wednesday by four pirates.

The additional pirate ships are headed into a showdown with the U.S. Navy. The pirates say they're bringing with them at least 50 hostages, or human-shields. They'll use them to stop the Navy from firing at them if they try to get Capt. Phillips off the lifeboat and onto one of their ships and then to Somalia.

Former FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, doesn't believe the U.S. Navy will allow the pirates to take Phillips to shore. That's when it could get really ugly.

Do you think the pirates will attempt this bold move?
Share your thoughts below.

The latest tactics come hours after Phillips tried a daring escape. Just after midnight, he tried to swim to the USS Bainbridge, an American warship just a few hunderd yards away. But he didn't make it. Within seconds, the pirates fired their AK-47 riffles, jumped into the water and grabbed him. Phillips was not hurt.
He was later seen moving inside the lifeboat.

Tonight another Navy ship, the USS Halyburton, is on the scene and the USS Boxer should arrive Saturday.

Today Phillips wife issued a statement:

"My husband is a strong man and we will remain strong for him," she said.

Meanwhile,  the French military attacked another boat today where five people were being held captive.  One of the French hostages and two pirates were killed.  The four other hostages, including a child,  were freed. We'll have all the details on the deadly rescue effort.

Join us for the latest on the high seas drama and tonight's other headlines starting at 10pm ET.
See you then and have a great weekend!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Mark

    The Navy should get two or three identical looking life-boats, placing them in the waters surrounding the life-boat that has our hostage.
    In that way the other pirates that are sailing out to meet them will not know what boat to sail for.
    This may force someone out to open the hatch going outside to single their comrades.

    April 10, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  2. Byron Williams

    To handle the pirates we need to look at going in to there stongholds full force. No more half-ass military operations, just a good old fashion surgical strike, just like we used to do. When we dealt with pirates in the 1800's that is exactly what we did. Times and weapons change but some of our old tactics are still the best. The pirates are showing that they are afraid of the U.S. Navy because they do not want to confront a well trained force. They saw what they would be dealing with when they attemted the take over of a ship flying the American flag, they fear us and we need to push this and use a show of force to slow down and hopefully stop the terrorist actions.

    April 10, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  3. Steve

    How about sending Special Forces pretending to be pirates to rescue?

    April 10, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  4. Rick

    two words. Navy Seals.

    C'mon Obama, time to step up and say we don't tolerate this BS. Send in the special forces and get him out of there.

    Then lets get an international coalition assembled to patrol that region, sinking known pirates. Enough already.

    April 10, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  5. Eileen

    We are the USA – any questions – hope not . Shouldn't be anyway.

    April 10, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  6. TotallyDisgusted

    This makes the Obama Administration, and the United States look ridiculous. Big ol' Warships vs. a lifeboat with a few ungrateful jerks on it. When the Captain tried to dive off, there should have been several sharpshooters on hand to blow off the heads of the captors. That would perhaps keep other pirates from messing with Americans again. Part of the reason nothing has happened to now, is because of the comments of people like Jim Welch, of St. Petersburg, Fla. I guess he doesn't realize that the minute these thugs chose to take over this vessel, they assumed a liability, a risk. That risk includes death. Too bad, they made their choice and committed their action. Now, we should make ours.

    If the people who man these boats can't carry arms, then perhaps the shipping companies should hire recently returned Iraq vets that can't find work to act as security on these vessels.

    Pirates are people with no human redeemable value. Take 'em out, save the Captain, move on. They don't only plunder passing vessels, they plunder their own people. We would be helping more than ourselves.

    Of course, the best thing to do is stay home. Americans, stop going to these places where the inhabitants would rather kill you as look at you. You want to help humanity? Stay home and help America's poor. There is plenty of that with which to start.

    April 10, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  7. Elliot

    We are amazed that this piracy continues unopposed by the shipping companies and their insurers. We have offered most of them several proactive solutions to ending the threat at a cost of no more than $20k per day for passage through dangerous waters. How many more lives will they risk before they stop waiting for someone else to solve the problem for them? Are they really that afraid to spend some money when lives are at stake?

    April 10, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  8. Chris G

    I say kill the pirates. That should stop them from trying again. Stop wasting our military resources. Or... start letting these container ships arm themselves to ensure safe passage. I think it is pretty simple. If we can't stop this non-sense, we're inviting more of the same.

    April 10, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  9. Miss Yvette

    Why is it that we negotiate with pirates, but we DON'T negotiate with terrorists? If we adopted the same policy, this wouldn't have gone on for so long.. who's going to buy a stolen boat?

    Stop negotiating with pirates - treat them as terrorists.

    April 10, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  10. Margaret

    I know we hope for a happy ending l but maybe they should consider the future and the captain should give his life for his country.

    Blow them out of the water and maybe they will think twice about approaching our ships.

    April 10, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  11. Ana

    I might sound unknowledgeable of the delicate works of current diplomacy, but I am thinking: shouldn't the world ask for more support from "friendly" african countries to infiltrate and pressure these desperate people to change their ways? After all, their countries are also loosing big time.

    April 10, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  12. Rawaf

    My solution to the Pirate Standoff would be to have a Navy diver(s) covertly compromise the hull of the life boat (drill some holes?), causing it to slowly fill with water until the pirates and their hostage have no other recourse but to get out and swim. There would be no reason to execute the hostage for fear of harsher punishment when they are picked up, and it's doubtful anyone could fire a weapon while swimming, even if the gun could work when wet.

    As for the piracy problem as a whole, why not employ a “Wolf in sheep’s clothing” strategy and have law enforcement pose as commercial vessels and draw the pirates towards them instead of being their pursuers?

    April 10, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  13. Adriana, NY, NY

    If we can not outsmart these guys. If our military can not contain them.
    What's the point. We have the greatest navy in the world we should use it. If we pay a ransom it is setting a very troubling standard.

    April 10, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  14. Marcie Martin

    Our military is trained and ready, right? If we can't take these pirates, we're in trouble.

    April 10, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  15. Julie

    I think I know what will happen if we don't resolve the hostage situation quickly, while it's just between them and us.

    Once one of their other captured ships arrives full of hostages, they will just drive right up to the lifeboat and transfer the American to it.
    We won't fire on them because of the hostages, but it will all be captured on video and we will get to watch it, over, and over, and over....
    They're not the least bit afraid of us anyway, they've run us off before.

    I don't mind not being a super power anymore, but we can't afford to keep letting ourselves be run over.
    How does this look to N Korea, Iran, etc.?

    Toothless, that's what it looks like...

    Julie, Ks

    April 10, 2009 at 9:54 pm |
  16. Annie Kate

    I hope the Navy takes the Captain from them and sinks their boat and any other boat that comes to their aid. If the boats are sinking the pirates will be too worried saving their own lives than dealing with hostages and the military can then rescue the other hostages. We can't negotiate with them – once you do that it never ends. I just hope it can be done without anyone being killed.

    April 10, 2009 at 9:53 pm |
  17. Della Shore

    It seems that these pirates have taken on their role very seriously and are concerned with humanity as much as the occupants of the Jolly Rodger. What's a Navy to do? move in? He gets shot. Shoot the pirates? risky. It seems a bad ending to this high seas drama may be inevitable.

    April 10, 2009 at 9:48 pm |
  18. Michael

    The pirates headed to them have hostages on board, and there are more on land. It is indeed a tricky situation that wont be easily resolved. A frontier mentality response would make the situation much worse.

    April 10, 2009 at 9:38 pm |
  19. Jim Welch, St. Petersburg, FL

    I will watch the show, however I am very disappointed in the escalation of blood lust verbage today as the situation gains more players: the Robin Hood Tribe of Silly Pirates and the gigantic and very powerful ships of the US Navy and a growing body of Force consisting of sailors, marines, and seals of the US Navy, the FBI (and probably CIA as well since it is an International event-how does the FBI get involved) and today the French commandos. I wish the Navy on the scene had offered the Silly Pirates (where's Johnny Depp when you need him?) some provisions and gas enough to get home under a Letter of Safe Passage for the captain, made the exchange-would have allowe3d for a simple, "non-incident" resolution to this fiasco with no one killed or injured-as the situation escalates death seems certain and I don;t want to watch anymore.

    April 10, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  20. Bruce

    Anderson why don't we just send our ships up and down the waters where the pirates live and just sink every ship we see, including their so called mother ships. Would make great target practice for our US Navy.

    April 10, 2009 at 9:09 pm |
  21. steve

    When he jumped off the boat we should have sunk the lifeboat with all the pirates on board. He had to be off the boat long enough for that.

    April 10, 2009 at 9:07 pm |
  22. Esco

    I say sink the lifeboat and see how well the pirates hold on to the Captain and their AK47s while trying not to down at see. As for any other boat that shows up, put a hole in it and let it take on some water as well.

    April 10, 2009 at 9:05 pm |
  23. Justin Continuum Q5

    Here is a chance to use the French and Free Masons ideas.
    Capture them as they come to us.
    Then bring them to justice.
    Don't let it take away focus on real wars.
    Q5

    April 10, 2009 at 8:52 pm |
  24. Denise A. Wind, LCSW

    Come on, we can handle a few pirates!!!!

    April 10, 2009 at 8:51 pm |