Sunday, April 12, 2009

American ship captain escapes unharmed

Official: US sea captain freed in swift firefight

Apr 12, 2:09 PM (ET)


MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) - An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday in a swift firefight that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, the ship's owner said and a U.S. official said.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said a pirate who had been involved in negotiations to free Capt. Richard Phillips but who was not on the lifeboat was in custody.

Phillips, 53, of Underhill, Vermont, was safely transported to a Navy warship nearby.

Maersk Line Limited President and CEO John Reinhart said in a news release that the U.S. government informed the company around 1:30 p.m. EDT Sunday that Phillips had been rescued. Reinhart said the company called Phillips' wife, Andrea, to tell her the news.

The U.S. official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. A Pentagon spokesman had no immediate comment.

When Phillips' crew heard the news aboard their ship in the port of Mombasa, they placed an American flag over the rail of the top of the Maersk Alabama and whistled and pumped their fists in the air. Crew fired a bright red flare into the sky from the ship.

A government official and others in Somali with knowledge of the situation had reported hours earlier that negotiations for Phillips' release had broken down. [source]

And from the Beeb:

US captain held by pirates freed

Capt Richard Phillips
Capt Phillips' family was informed
of his release hours ago

The captain of a US container ship taken hostage by Somali pirates has been released, the US Navy has said.

Three pirates are reported to have been killed in the operation to free Captain Richard Phillips, who had been held in a lifeboat for several days.

Capt Phillips is said to be unhurt and aboard the USS Bainbridge, a warship sent to track the pirates holding him....

An unnamed US official told the Associated Press news agency that Capt Phillips was freed in what appeared to be a swift firefight.

Reports say he jumped overboard for a second time, and the pirates were shot and killed before they could take action to get him back.

US forces apparently took advantage of the fact one of the pirates was negotiating on the USS Bainbridge when the incident happened.... [read more here]

As Texas Fred says:

I have NO idea yet regarding WHO ordered this, but, if it was Obama, maybe he’s not the wimp we believe him to be. Maybe. All I know is that it took about 3 days too long to come to a conclusion. You can’t negotiate with these people, they do NOT understand reason! Kill them and be done with it!...[read more from Fred here]

Captain Phillips is a credit to his country. HAPPY EASTER, Captain.

[Bratnote: And I HAVE to add this one:

Captain escapes, pirates killed, U.S. official says

updated 55 minutes ago

Captain escapes, pirates killed, U.S. official says

The American captain of a cargo ship jumped to freedom today after being held by pirates on a lifeboat off the coast of Somalia, according to a senior U.S. official. U.S. Navy SEALs shot and killed three of his four captors, the official said. Capt. Richard Phillips is uninjured and in good condition, the official said. [CNN here]

Emphasis mine. Doncha just love our SEALs?


Captain Phillips: "I am just the byline. [Direct quote]. The real heroes are the US Navy,...and all the men and women who brought me home..." [my paraphrase for the second sentence there.]

For video go here.

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