Somali pirates foil US captain’s escape attemptApril 10th, 2009 - 7:24 pm ICT by IANS
Nairobi/Washington, April 10 (DPA) Somali pirates recaptured the captain of a US-operated ship after he jumped into the Indian Ocean from the lifeboat he was being held hostage on, media reports said Friday.
CNN, citing an unnamed US defence official, said that Richard Phillips leapt from the lifeboat in a daring attempt to swim to a US Navy destroyer, which is within visual range of the pirates.
The incident happened too quickly for the USS Bainbridge to help Phillips, who was apparently unhurt during his recapture.
The Maersk Alabama, a cargo ship carrying food aid, was seized by pirates Wednesday only for the crew to immediately retake the ship. However, Phillips ended up being held on the Alabama’s lifeboat by the pirates.
The USS Bainbridge, part of a coalition naval force sent to combat piracy in the region, arrived early Thursday and made contact with the lifeboat, according to a spokesman for Maersk Line Ltd, the US company that operates the ship.
Additional Navy ships were being sent to the region and were expected to arrive within 48 hours, General David Petraeus, who commands US forces in the Middle East, said Thursday in Florida.
One of the ships is believed to be the USS Halyburton, a frigate with two helicopters on board.
The Alabama steamed away from the area and was Friday heading toward its original destination of Mombasa, Kenya.
Some observers said they expect the hostage drama to drag on for days. Navy forces are generally reluctant to storm ships to free crew members being held hostage.
However, the pirates are in a weak bargaining position with no fuel for the lifeboat and only one hostage.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates told reporters in Washington that the “safe return of the captain is the top priority.”
The 17,000-tonne Alabama, owned by the Danish firm Maersk, was taken around 500 km off Somalia.
- US Navy steps up pressure on Somali pirates (Lead) - Apr 10, 2009
- Somali pirates demand ransom as US Navy sends more ships - Apr 11, 2009
- Somali pirates fail to reinforce embattled comrades (Lead) - Apr 12, 2009
- Somali pirates rushing to help comrades in face-off with US Navy - Apr 11, 2009
- Hijacked lifeboat with US captain near Somali shore: Report - Apr 12, 2009
- Somali pirates negotiate with US Navy over hostage - Apr 10, 2009
- Alabama ship is in Mombasa; FBI sequesters crew, ship - Apr 12, 2009
- Wife of rescued captain awaits his pirate tale - Apr 14, 2009
- Snipers kill three pirates, free US ship captain (Lead) - Apr 13, 2009
- Detained Somali pirate to be tried as adult - Apr 22, 2009
- US ship attacked by Somali pirates escapes capture - Apr 15, 2009
- US ship crew call for anti-piracy action - Apr 13, 2009
- US Navy reaches ship hijacked by Somali pirates (Lead) - Apr 09, 2009
- US captain kidnapped by pirates freed by special forces - Apr 13, 2009
- Somali elders in fresh attempt to free US captain - Apr 12, 2009
Tags: being held hostage, cnn, danish firm, daring attempt, david petraeus, escape attempt, free crew, general david petraeus, hostage drama, maersk line ltd, mombasa kenya, navy forces, navy ships, richard phillips, robert gates, secretary robert, somali pirates, us navy destroyer, uss bainbridge, uss halyburton