American Morning

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April 8th, 2009
01:42 PM ET

Exclusive: Interview with father of crewman aboard hijacked ship

Attackers hijacked the Maersk Alabama, shown here, formerly known as the Alva Maersk.

Attackers hijacked the Maersk Alabama, shown here, formerly known as the Alva Maersk.

See the entire interview tomorrow on American Morning, 6-9am on CNN.

BUZZARDS BAY, Massachusetts (CNN) — U.S. crew members have “taken down” one of the pirates who hijacked their vessel early Wednesday hundreds of miles off Somalia’s coast, one of the crew members told his wife and father.

Shane Murphy relayed the information in quick phone calls to his wife and father in his home state of Massachusetts.

He told his wife that the crew — all of whom were unarmed — knew that help was on the way and made their move on the pirates when the U.S. Navy began to arrive. Murphy said the crew let the pirates think they had control of the vessel, but the entire time felt confident that the situation would be resolved.

Four hijackers boarded the Maersk Alabama early Wednesday, and one is in custody, according to Pentagon officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The three others tried to escape, and their status is unknown, they said.

CNN's Jason Carroll spoke exclusively with the father of crew member Shane Murphy.

Joe Murphy: They also sent a global distress messsage which was recieved by the United States Navy and the US Navy responded immediately. The problem is that the Navy was almost 200 miles away. They used evasive maneuvers to keep the pirates off.

Jason Carroll: And they did that for several hours?

Murphy: 3 hours- over 3 hours, 3 to 5 hours. And once the pirates get onboard there's nothing that can be done.

Carroll: Do you know if anyone was armed onboard?

Murphy: No. The ship is not armed.

Carroll: The pirates made their way on board?

Murphy: They made their way onbaord and they held the crew in ther secure area. they shut down all communication- no further communication. Stopped the ship and it progressed from that point on.


Filed under: Piracy
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. nancy

    @ tracy

    Tracy April 9th, 2009 7:19 am ET

    If a terrorist called himself a pirate, would we negotiate?

    EXACTLY!! These are "terrorists" of the high seas. Blow em outta the water.

    April 9, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  2. Gus S

    Why on earth are we so seemingly helpless in the pirate situation? Here are a couple of ideas on how to handle it.

    Send some Navy Seals over to the lifeboat and sink it from underneath…just a few small holes.

    Have some unmanned drones follow them back to their nest and simply eliminate it (after the captain is released). Somalia is without a government. Who’s going to complain?

    Of course our top priority will be to protect the rights of the pirates…NOT!

    April 9, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  3. Alan Goldstein

    Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. World War II: Navy escorted merchant ships in convoys foiled the German submarine threat. Like will work against the Somali pirates!

    April 9, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  4. Tracy

    If a terrorist called himself a pirate, would we negotiate?

    April 9, 2009 at 7:19 am |
  5. mike maher

    as a former cadet at mass maritime, I find the training that capt. murphy provides very valuable. Although that course was not available during my time, it should have been taught ten years ago. The maritime crime rates in the gulf of Aden, Malaysia,Flores sea and East Timur has sky rocketed within the last ten years. The members of these crimes are becoming increasingly smarter and more technically advanced. It is important to evaluate every situation carefully prior to making decisions involving firearms and hostile hi-jackings. Personally, if the crew on deck ( on bridge) were armed, the four natives would have been subdued very quickly. But as you know every situation is different and as said earlier must be handled on a case by case basis.

    April 9, 2009 at 6:38 am |
  6. chuck

    Train our guys, then shoot the bad guys. Somalia wants to relive the wild west... go for it!! teach our merchant marines to shoot, and keep on shooting! The merchant marine should be no different than air marshalls!! Shoot them, until they quit!

    April 9, 2009 at 6:18 am |
  7. Vivian- Irving, TX

    I do not about the other CNN listeners this early afternoon........I was appalled at how negotiations and danger were apparent on the cargo ship that was hijacked by pirates and......K. Phillips kept pressuring the individual on board, as he was being persistent about having to go. I feared for his life as she was trying to get a story to make breaking news. I think, even though news is important...it should never interfere with "real time" situations that could put lives in danger. I hope her prolonging the individual to stay on line to ask additional questions did not interfere in the success of him and others becoming free from this serious situation. Lives are more important than breaking news. I like Kara Phillips. She is one that I do listen to as a news reporter. However, I think she did not use good judgment in her news reporting role this time. Vivian

    April 8, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  8. Dan Nelson

    Why don't we just go out on patrols and find these hijackers and blow them up right there in the waters? This would be the best way to handle these pirate attacks because they would begin to think twice about going out to sea to attack other ships!

    April 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm |