American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
April 9th, 2009
03:04 PM ET

Drama on the high seas

The father of one of the crew members of the Maersk Alabama confirms his son is now safe.
The father of one of the crew members of the Maersk Alabama confirms his son is now safe.

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.

Kiran


Filed under: Piracy
April 9th, 2009
11:14 AM ET

Somali women flocking to port in hope of marrying pirates

Former Navy SEAL Kaj Larsen decribes the dificulties in combating pirates off the Somali coast.
Former Navy SEAL Kaj Larsen decribes the dificulties in combating pirates off the Somali coast.

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.

FULL POST


Filed under: Piracy
April 9th, 2009
10:44 AM ET

Commentary: We need a new piracy strategy, to get on offense

[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.

FULL POST


Filed under: Piracy
April 9th, 2009
10:06 AM ET
April 9th, 2009
09:27 AM ET

Crewman's father: Hostage can survive ten days in lifeboat

The father of one of the crew members of the Maersk Alabama confirms his son is now safe.
The father of one of the crew members of the Maersk Alabama confirms his son is now safe.

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.

FULL POST


Filed under: Piracy
April 8th, 2009
01:42 PM ET

Exclusive: Interview with father of crewman aboard hijacked ship

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/08/maersk.art.jpg
caption="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
newer posts »