Here’s your daily recap of the best feedback we got from YOU today. Continue the conversation below. And remember, keep it brief, and keep it clean. Thanks!
On Thursday, American Morning viewers were consumed by the Somali pirates’story. The majority of viewers were anxious to take action for a quick resolution, claiming that the U.S. would lose respect if we negotiated with the pirates. A minority were angry at the U.S. apathy toward such hijackings in the past, with America only now interested in the underlying issues in Somalia.
Tell us what you think: How do you feel about the pirates potential power in the Somali region? Do you believe, as the first viewer above, that if the U.S. doesn’t end the hostage situation that the priates will be “unstoppable?” Was the U.S. too slow in its response? Should the U.S. negotiate with the priates? Was the United State wrong in waiting to address the issue of the Somali pirate attacks? Do you believe there may be more underlying issues that need to be addressed, as the second viewer states?
First, let me say our prayers are with Captain Richard Phillips and his family today as he remains a hostage of pirates on the seas off the Somali coast. Read the latest.
From the minute we went to air today at 6am (1pm local time off the Horn of Africa), American Morning was able to bring our viewers the latest information, developments and perspective thanks to our global resources and incredible booking and producing staff. We had Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr in Bahrain with Naval Commanders, we had Jason Carroll at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy where the father of one of the crew on the Maersk Alabama actually trains cadets to battle the pirates as a last resort. See the video. He also gave us incredible insight on what it must be like for Capt. Phillips awaiting rescue on the life boat, captive at the hands of pirates. Read the interview.
We also asked the questions many of our viewers want to know about how to best crack down on this growing threat. Who has control of these international waters? Would we take military action in the waters or even on the shores of Somalia? And would arming the crews of these huge cargo ships make things better or worse?
We are following all the latest developments and hoping this ends happily for the captain and crew of the Maersk Alabama.
Pirates are holding a U.S. captain hostage at sea. The Navy is watching everything that happens. So what is supposed to happen next? And what is driving this problem? We talked to someone who knows a thing or two about the pirates and has experience covering them in Somalia. Kaj Larsen, former U.S. Navy SEAL, spoke to T.J. Holmes on CNN’s American Morning Thursday.
Larsen says the root conditions of poverty, lawlessness and civil war on the ground in Somalia are to blame. The large sums of ransom money being paid out to pirates, he says, is even leading some Somali women to venture to the port town of Bosaso in hopes of marrying these newly-rich men.
T.J. Holmes: We know that piracy pays. What is it that's going to break this cycle if every time they take a ship, they get paid. Why stop it?
Kaj Larsen: That's the 50 or $100 million question, which is about the money that the pirates took in last year in ransom. The solution unfortunately is not going to be a military-centric one. Ultimately, you to have to find some way to govern this ungoverned space, this lawless sanctuary that the pirates have in Somalia. That's really the only long-term solution you’re going to see to this problem.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/09/int.swift.charles.art.jpg caption="Charles Swift, former Naval Defense Attorney, spoke with T.J. Holmes on CNN’s American Morning Thursday."]
Pirates are holding a U.S. captain hostage at sea. The Navy is watching everything that happens. So where does the law get involved in protecting merchant vessels and stopping piracy?
Charles Swift, former Naval Defense Attorney, spoke with T.J. Holmes on CNN’s American Morning Thursday.
T.J. Holmes: Just who is policing these waters?
Charles Swift: Under the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention, all navies, all navies of the world share a joint responsibility for policing international waters and that’s where these things are taking place, in international waters.
Holmes: We've seen so many of these cases where the company seems be to be in charge, the private company that owns these ships pay the ransoms, seemingly, without any government intervening. Why is that happening?
Swift: What the pirates do is they move the ships from international waters into the internal waters of Somalia and then they negotiate directly with the companies, with the navies being outside that 13 mile nautical range limit around Somalia itself, and the companies pay through intermediaries until they have their ships get back under way because of loss of money.
Somali pirates hold an American captain hostage on the seas at the horn of Africa. A U.S. Navy destroyer is on the scene charged with keeping watch.
The ship’s second in command, Captain Shane Murphy, has been in contact with his family. Shane's dad, Captain Joseph Murphy who teaches a course on piracy and security at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, spoke with Kiran Chetry on CNN’s American Morning Thursday.
Kiran Chetry: Give us an update on the last time you had a chance to speak to your son, Shane.
Joseph Murphy: The last communication we had from the ship was actually yesterday. We haven't heard any word from Shane since yesterday afternoon. He did tell us that he was safe and that the crew was safe and that of course the concern is now focused on Captain Phillips who's in a lifeboat with the four pirates.
Chetry: The crew kept one of the pirates. They were going to try to have some sort of exchange take place and the Somali pirates reneged on that. What is the situation in that lifeboat? How long can they stay and in what condition is the captain likely in?
Murphy: I would suspect that the captain is in very good condition. The lifeboat is only a 28-foot boat. It's got emergency rations for about ten days for its capacity. It's a very uncomfortable place. It's very small. There are no toilet facilities or anything like that. The captain has a VHF radio and I'm sure that he's in voice communication with the ship itself. The problem is, of course, that the radio is going to - the battery is going to die. And I'm not really sure how they'll continue communication after that.