April 10th, 2009
04:35 PM ET

More pirates on the way

Program Note: Tune in tonight for Randi Kaye's full report on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

Capt. Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama is being held by pirates on a lifeboat off Somalia.

Capt. Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama is being held by pirates on a lifeboat off Somalia.

Randi Kaye
AC360° Correspondent

Picture this: Four ships held hostage by pirates in a showdown with at least two US warships, with Captain Richard Phillips in a tiny lifeboat caught in the middle, literally. We are very likely heading for a showdown smack in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

The pirates want to hold onto Captain Phillips for ransom so here’s how they plan to pull it off. It’s pretty bold.

They are planning to bring as many as four ships, currently being held hostage, back out into the Indian Ocean. We know one is a German ship. The pirates are not taking any risks by heading out in their little skiffs this time. They are using the big ships and they will be bringing along with them at least 50 hostages they are currently holding.

These poor folks will essentially be used as human shields to try and keep the U.S. warships from firing on the pirates.

Their goal seems to be to get Captain Phillips onto one of the other ships with hostages and then bring him back to the pirate base in Somalia, which would likely be the port town of Eyl.

I spoke with a former hostage negotiator who says there is “zero chance” the Navy will let these pirates take an American hostage back to Somalia with them.

So how will they prevent it? Some say the U.S. Navy should just blow them out of the water, but that would likely mean hostages would die.

So what are the options?

This could be one heck of a showdown on the high seas this weekend…

Filed under: Pirates • Randi Kaye
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. thinker

    those poeple who are holding us cargo amrican captain hostage are not pirates they are viruses resulted from the bactaria of the long ignored crises in somalia nearly two decades by the whole world including the worlds super_power country (USA) which happen to be the last victim of thier previous lack of concentaration on somalia's catastrophic and civil war. In Fact, had the whole world joined to gather pefore to restore peace and regulation back in somalia, this would have never happen now. It is imbossible to treate a viruse once it spread out from early stages to vital stage. this is not the only problem that requires the new obama adminstration to deal with. but, there is also a deadly islamic movemen who are incontrole of most of the country, who have direct links with al qaida terrorist network. i whish the captain's safe return to his familly.

    April 10, 2009 at 9:09 pm |
  2. JOhn Ortiz

    During WWII, the Allies would escort commercial unarmed maritime ships through the uboat infested North Atlantic. Has the idea of using multinational Navy ships to escort unarmed maritime commercial ships been brought up? There is already a multinational presence in the area so is it possible to coordinate "ship escort duty with" these other nations? After all it is in all our interests to protect these commercial sea lanes. Done right, the pirates will find it much more difficult to hijack ships.

    April 10, 2009 at 8:59 pm |
  3. greg keehn

    it is simple.give them free passage to them for our hero,let them leave without warships following.send out high altitude drones,follow each and every one of them back to port,then you will find their base of operation, take them out ,problem solved.this is the safest for the captain,and the most logical since it seems to affect the whole world.more countrys need to put an effort into this too,it benefits all of us.

    April 10, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  4. nyronni

    When I worked in a prison in New York State, they made it very clear that if we were taken hostage anything could happen since they would not negotiate with the captors. As unfortunate as it would be to have anyone harmed, I don't see any other choice. If the pirates are allowed to get away with this, these situations will keep on happening.

    April 10, 2009 at 8:23 pm |
  5. Ed

    send in a seal team... divers under the life boat.. drill a hole in the boat. or use a very small underwater explosive.... watch it start to sink.... pirates will panic and want to save themselves as water fills the cabin. Even if it submerges with the captain on on board... once it is underwater the seals can go in and provide life support to the Captain with dunder diving equipment. The pirates will most likely abandon ship and swim to the sufface. I can't imagine they will want to sacrifice themselves


    drop a bag of counterfeit money on board.. and roll the dice... if they are serious about recieving $$$ for a prisoner exchange ... then we will see thier true intentions very quickly...

    April 10, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  6. thinker

    this is not a movie wherease a hostages are released systamaticly based on militiry action while killing the bad guys. This is real life deeply rooted how to safe an innocent american citizen out of the crazy somalian pirates. This poeple need money. so, why not give thier money and safe the captain. as long as it impossible to safe the captain and at the same time kick the bad guys ass

    April 10, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  7. Tara

    Lets be clear. The pirates are not putting their hostages back on any ships. Those already on shore are remaining ashore and each vessel they have grabbed is headed for the shore. Your reporting is flat out wrong. Second - when will someone in the media with access ask the 64 k question. Why in the world is the Bainbridge playing softball? Pull up alongside the lifeboat - dog it with speakers blaring away - do not sit comfortable off watching it so when the captain tries to escape he is let to his own. The navy should be ashamed of how sad they look. the second he hit the water the lifeboat should have been riddled with bullets - if the soft navy does not see that why are they even there. Imagine the depression that the Captain has now - understanding that the billion dollar navy pulled up just to watch. Unbelievable. And before the navy gets out the old - it was too risky book - memo to file – the Captain is in the best position to assess the risk and he tried to ESCAPE. Put some holes in the lifeboat and give him a chance. Pathetic response from the semi ivy league leaders of today in our military.

    April 10, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  8. Robert, Louissiana

    Somalia Pirates Problem
    The area is way too large to protect all of it all the time and it’s not good to put protection on each ship because it might lead to damage to ships and cargo.

    So reduce the area that needs protection by forming Convoys. Ships could leave their previous ports at carefully planned times to avoid long waits before convoys start.

    This way it would be possible to protect all of the merchant ships all of the time with far fewer military ships than if they travel through the danger area one at a time. It would allow us to wait till they have zero or very few hostages before more aggressive action is taken.

    April 10, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  9. Timothy Gibson

    There cannot be any reason for the pirates to leave, even when the hostage if freed.

    No more OJ Simpson style behavior permitted. As well, Somalia must be held responsible for the behavior of their people, whom they allow to hang out along the coast with their hostages on ships, all held for ransom.

    This is terrorism on the high seas. Any ships held by the pirates should by all means be prevented from entering the area, and when once they are in international waters, must be overtaken, the hostages freed and the pirates held for their crimes.

    As long as this is allowed to continue, it become worse, and now with what may very well be a success for the pirates again, will lead to bolder and more dramatic behavior.

    April 10, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  10. c,ca

    Who are these pirates, and who is actualy collecting the ransom money? Is it organized crime, like the Mexican drug cartels, and a few big shots are getting all of the money?

    The pirates themselves don't look like they've gotten their share of the millions that have been paid in ransom money. From the video that has been shown of the living conditions in Somalia, I don't think the money is going to help the citizens.......

    Who are the big wheels running these pirate operations and where is the money going?

    April 10, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  11. glen shepherd ky

    how can a little boat can take over big ship wake up.blow the hijackers out off the water.arm your ships.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  12. Jim Welch, St. Petersburg, FL

    I meant to write in response above "Why NOT give them..."; my apologies for confusion. My point is the Silly Pirates screwed up and got themselves in an embarassing sticky wicket from which they need to extradite themselves, so supplies and a promise of Safe Passage Home from Pres. Obama would make a "no incident' resolution possible before someone gets killed.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  13. tom dell

    is somalia on our side?? i know the usa gives food and medical supplies to almost every country.PIRATES are pirates/TERRORIST

    April 10, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  14. Sohail

    Send Navy divers to apply explosives to the propellers and rudders of the captured ships. Blow off their means of propulsion and navigation.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  15. Jeff Burlington,WI

    Render the ships inoperable to flee ( Navy SEALS ) by disabling the propeller drive shafts. Provide a small boat for the pirates (only) to leave under the condition that all hostages are visible on the ships deck at departure and left unharmed. Blockade any approaching vessels within 25 miles an wait.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:39 pm |

    I have yet to understand why the Navy didn't blow the pirates boat out of the water when the Captain tried to escape. If he was not in the boat, they could have at least shot all of the pirates in the boat? Lady above is right, we spend billions training Navy Seals, would think they would be able to figure this out soon. It's almost embarassing.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  17. Scott Aguilar

    I have a suggestion regarding the Somalia pirates. First you keep some UN naval vesicles off the coast.

    When the pirates make a move of a civilian ship you put a round over their bow as a warning. Arrest the pirates and turn them over to the World Court charged with piracy on the high seas.

    If they don’t heave-to and prepare to be boarded then the second round lands amidships.

    And don’t pick up any survivors. Leave them for the sharks. I think if you send a few of them to Davie Jones' locker the rest of them will get a clue. Plus, there's no collateral damage so it's a win-win situation.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  18. Jim Welch, St. Petersburg, FL

    Why give them gas, food, and water enough to get home in exchange for captain then everyone can go home with no incident. The pirates can always come back and hijack another ship for some cash.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  19. caroljoa@3rivers.net

    Why was this problem allowed. To become this large action should have been taken sooner this type of thing should be nipped in the bud seems that these days everything has to get out of hand efore its addressed. Can't we get ahead of a problem

    April 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  20. Art Mason

    Unfortunately the hostages may need to die. You cannot allow a small group of people to control lives and countries.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  21. JC-Los Angeles

    Did the pirates off the coast of Somalia get their training from the pirates and robber barons on Capitol Hill and Wall Street?

    Maybe the White House could exchange Press Secretary Gibbs for the capitain; that would solve one of their problems.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  22. RIch Pretty Girl

    Geeeez.... I pray for all the people being held. That's terrifying! And it's like an action movie or something. I think the captain when he gets out of this should write a book and start a blog about pirates. I'd pay for it and read it. I hope those pirates get what they deserve. They're terrible!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  23. John Lydon

    Someone needs to call Chuck Norris. He would solve everything through either prayer or violence. Problem solved. Call Chuck Norris!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  24. Sarah Christensen

    Isn't this what the Naval Seals are for?

    April 10, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  25. StormerF

    Bring it on.....,time we settked with these terrorist pirates once and for all.My money is on the US Navy.If Obama keeps his face out of it and lets them do what is needed.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  26. Stacy, Fairfax, VA

    While it is tempting to launch a missle right into the life boat, we can't just blow them out of the water and kill an American. A big problem is that the longer this standoff goes on, it sends a message to other pirates that if you take an American ship, you stand a chance of standing up against the largest Navy in the world. This is not good.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  27. Sergio Rancho Cucamonga, Ca.

    This is a show down that the world is watching and other country need to get involved so that these socalled pirates know that this will NOT be tolerated.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  28. Annie Kate

    Sounds like a showdown is in the works – hopefully it will be a contained showdown so the hostages will not be hurt. I would think though if that was the case that the Navy would be doing something now and not waiting for the other pirate ships to bring out more hostages. I hope no hostages are hurt or killed but I do hope the Navy does something and that its a long-term deterrent to piracy.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm |