War Is Deceit Update on the Somali pirates’ hostage: “U.S. Cargo Ship Repels Pirates: Crew Regains Control in Drama off Coast of Somalia; Captain Held by Hijackers,” by Chip Cummins, Louise Radnofsky and Philip Shishkin for the Wall Street Journal, April 9 (thanks to DFS):
The American crew of a hijacked cargo ship off the shore of Somalia regained effective control of the vessel late Wednesday, but the pirates held the captain hostage on a lifeboat and a U.S. Navy destroyer arrived on the scene as dawn approached there.
The high-seas drama, unfolding a few hundred miles from the East African coastline in the Indian Ocean, ratchets up the stakes for U.S. and international naval commanders seeking to counter a surge in attacks in piracy-wracked waters there.
The attack was the first on American sailors amid the current spate of piracy attacks in the region…
Why now? Hmmm, what do you think?
…and initially at least, the capture of a crew of 20 Americans posed a potential international hostage crisis. Dozens of ships have been taken and held for large ransoms just since last fall. Though the ships generally are released and crews unharmed, talks can drag on for months.
The Maersk Alabama was carrying food aid to Kenya when it was captured. Except for the captain being held, Richard Phillips, all the ship’s crew members were reported safe Wednesday with no injuries, according to the ship’s owner, a U.S. subsidiary of Danish shipping giant A.P. MÃ¸ller-Maersk AS.
Early Thursday morning, the USS Bainbridge arrived to gauge the situation, establish contact with the ship’s crew and potentially deter the hijackers from further violence by its presence. But it was not expected to intervene directly. “They’re not going to go in with guns blazing,” said a U.S. Defense Department official.
Of course not!
The ship’s second mate, Ken Quinn, told CNN by telephone that Capt. Phillips was being held in a lifeboat, even after the crew handed over a pirate they had been holding as an exchange. “We returned him but they didn’t return the captain,” he said.
Mr. Quinn said Capt. Phillips appeared unharmed and that the crew had also been trying to negotiate by offering the pirates food, but “it’s not working too good.” A relative said the captain was in touch with his ship by radio….
Negotiations with jihadists not working? Stop the presses!