American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
April 15th, 2009
10:50 AM ET

Son emails mom as pirates attack ship

Katy Urbik's son e-mailed her while pirates attacked his ship. She spoke to CNN's Kiran Chetry.
Katy Urbik's son e-mailed her while pirates attacked his ship. She spoke to CNN's Kiran Chetry.

Another American cargo ship has been attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The attackers failed to take over the “Liberty Sun" but they did some damage with grenade launchers and automatic weapons. An engineer on the “Liberty Sun" was e-mailing his mom, Katy, during the attack.

He wrote: “We are under attack by pirates, we are being hit by rockets. Also bullets… We are barricaded in the engine room and so far no one is hurt. A rocket penetrated the bulkhead but the hole is small. Small fire too but put out.” In a later email, “The Navy has shown up, we’re under military escort. I love you all and thank you for your prayers.”

Katy Urbick spoke with Kiran Chetry on CNN’s American Morning Wednesday.

Kiran Chetry: How much time from the first email to the second? Because the first must have stopped your heart…

Katy Urbik: Yes, I think the way they send out their e-mail signals, some can accumulate and they send them out at the same time. So literally the second e-mail was there as soon as I exited out of the first one. But that doesn't mean they came that quickly. I think it's a matter of when they send the signals up and send out the e-mails.

Chetry: To hear this from your own child. We're under attack, there's bullets. So far, no one is hurt. What was going through your mind?

Urbik: My heart started pounding. I had this "is this really happening" kind of moment. I was waiting for the next line to say “just kidding” or “LOL” or something like that because that's kind of his sense of humor. But it was just one of those hit you between the eye moments of this is reality right smack in my face.

Chetry: Thomas has been on the ship since February. You’ve talked about the dangers of traveling in this area off of the Somali coast. What has he told you about the precautions they take, maybe changes in the future as to how they arm these cargo ships?

Urbik: Well, as far as precautions went thus far, he kept me pretty well-informed to put my mind at ease that they had high-pressure hoses and strategies to get safe in the engine room if they were being boarded and their lookouts were stepped up. He has mentioned that, you know, this is not enough and he certainly is hoping for more defensive measures onboard after all of this has happened.

Chetry: We've seen just over the past few days with the situation with Captain Phillips, the U.S. Navy getting involved, the SEALs then able to take out the three pirates and rescue the captain. Do you think more needs to be done? Do you think the U.S. government needs to take on a stronger role in patrolling this region of the world?

Urbik: American ships are not only ones being attacked. I would like to see a worldwide resolve to put an end to these problems. In our modern age, it's kind of unimaginable that it can be so easy to take a ship that large and get that much money. I'm not the expert on how to solve those problems, but I think we could begin with more security onboard the ships and more means for them to defend themselves. Because we're talking about an area so vast it would be unrealistic to expect the Navy to be Johnny-on-the-spot there rescuing you if you're under attack.

Chetry: As I understand it, he used to e-mail you every five days, now he’s e-mailing you every 48 hours to put your mind at ease. Going forward in the future, what's it like knowing this is the career path he's chosen that he's on these ships?

Urbik: Well, you know, he's definitely in the worst part of the world for piracy. And I think ordinarily there's many, many shipping jobs you can have that don't put you in this kind of harm's way. He'll probably keep a more careful eye on which jobs he accepts.

Chetry: When you see him, what's the first thing you're going to say?

Urbik: I love you, thank God you're safe. Thank God for being an American and having a strong military that can, you know, safely see you in the port and thank God for protecting you.

Filed under: Piracy
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Bionca

    I am really happy they all made home safe and i think he shouldn't lose his job because he save everyone on the ship.

    April 17, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  2. Justin

    To the kid posting as "Satan"....first, you only wish you had Satan's influence and power, and two, your post is just blabber.

    To everyone else that takes this so personally...Why?

    Ok, Henry, this kind of reporting makes you "change the channel" as you said. Ok, change the channel. Fine. But you coming here to complain about it is just as pointless as the interview was. You don't care about pointless interviews and we dont' care about what makes or doesn't make you happy within the news no more than you care about what I'm saying right now.

    To Steph Hyle, I'm sure pirates have figured out by now where people hide on ships. They're pirates, they do this for a living. I'm sure we didn't just "clue them in" for the first time ever to where they should start looking for the ships' crewmembers when they board them. I'd wager that that information was common knowledge long ago.

    Fenris, why would going public with the e-mails cost him his job? There wasn't any critically important member about the crew given out, etc....but I'm sure you'll over analyze it and figure out some reason why though.

    Relax people...relax. Stuff like this has been in the news since before any of us were even alive, and it will continue to be "news" long after we're gone. Get over it.

    April 15, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  3. castle

    Fenris, when I read your post I couldnt stop laughing, then I really wanted to slap you. Do you really think this mother would care if he lost his job after the fear of god was put into her, UUUUMMMMMM NO. But why on earth would he lose his job, he could have be the only one to save them as well. I am glad they made it, and I really hope the military kicks some a&&.

    April 15, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  4. cece

    I was in the NAVY and knew the power of 40mm machine gun. All merchant ships need to install 40 mm gun (two on both sides and one at front and one at back),. This is enough to scare pirates away.

    April 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  5. Satan

    God is an American? Geez, I guess that's good to know. I thought he was Australian.

    April 15, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  6. Otunba Bankole

    I see no harm or sin in what Urbik told Chetry in this interview. It's like giving testimony in public to what God has done in one's life.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  7. steven

    PHH canada is there and already thwarted pirates at least three times now

    April 15, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  8. steph hyle

    can someone please f'in tell me why the hell would you say nationally "ohh if they get attacked they hide in the ENGINE ROOM" are you freakin retarded

    April 15, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  9. Henry

    I have to say that interviews like this make me change the channel. How silly is it ask Katy Urbik how she felt when her son emailed her? That's as stupid as asking family members of deceased people how they felt about the loss of a loved one! I watch CNN for news, not to see somebody ask silly questions that don't add anything to the story.

    I'm guessing my post will never make it to your public site where other people can comment on it. I'll just have to find a more professional newscast to watch in the morning if these ridiculous questions keep gettings asked. Report on the news, interview official people. Leave the sillyness out. I want my CNN!!! Thanks!

    April 15, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  10. PHH

    Why is everything always put on the back of the United States? Where is China, Canada, and the other "world powers"?

    April 15, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  11. Fenris

    Why on earth did this mother go public with these emails? Probably will cost her son his job.

    April 15, 2009 at 11:55 am |