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Old 04-12-2009, 11:58 AM
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Default US sea captain freed in swift firefight

AP


MOMBASA, Kenya – An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday in a U.S. Navy operation that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, a senior U.S. intelligence official said.

One of the pirates was wounded and in custody after a swift firefight, the official said.

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

The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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

The district commissioner of the central Mudug region said talks went on all day Saturday, with clan elders from his area talking by satellite telephone and through a translator with Americans, but collapsed late Saturday night.

"The negotiations between the elders and American officials have broken down. The reason is American officials wanted to arrest the pirates in Puntland and elders refused the arrest of the pirates," said the commissioner, Abdi Aziz Aw Yusuf. He said he organized initial contacts between the elders and the Americans.

Two other Somalis, one involved in the negotiations and another in contact with the pirates, also said the talks collapsed because of the U.S. insistence that the pirates be arrested and brought to justice.

Phillips' crew of 19 American sailors reached safe harbor in Kenya's northeast port of Mombasa on Saturday night under guard of U.S. Navy Seals, exhilarated by their freedom but mourning the absence of Phillips.

Crew members said their ordeal had begun with the Somali pirates hauling themselves up from a small boat bobbing on the surface of the Indian Ocean far below.

As the pirates shot in the air, Phillips told his crew to lock themselves in a cabin and surrendered himself to safeguard his men, crew members said.

Phillips was then held hostage in an enclosed lifeboat that was closely watched by U.S. warships and a helicopter in an increasingly tense standoff.

Talks to free him began Thursday with the captain of the USS Bainbridge talking to the pirates under instruction from FBI hostage negotiators on board the U.S. destroyer.

A statement from Maersk Line, owner of Phillips' ship, the Maersk Alabama, said "the U.S. Navy had sight contact" of Phillips earlier Sunday — apparently when the pirates opened the hatches.

Before Phillips was freed, a pirate who said he was associated with the gang that held Phillips, Ahmed Mohamed Nur, told The Associated Press that the pirates had reported that "helicopters continue to fly over their heads in the daylight and in the night they are under the focus of a spotlight from a warship."

He spoke by satellite phone from Harardhere, a port and pirate stronghold where a fisherman said helicopters flew over the town Sunday morning and a warship was looming on the horizon. The fisherman, Abdi Sheikh Muse, said that could be an indication the lifeboat may be near to shore.

The U.S. Navy had assumed the pirates would try to get their hostage to shore, where they can hide him on Somalia's lawless soil and be in a stronger position to negotiate a ransom.

Three U.S. warships were within easy reach of the lifeboat on Saturday. The pirates had threatened to kill Phillips if attacked.

On Friday, the French navy freed a sailboat seized off Somalia last week by other pirates, but one of the five hostages was killed.

Early Saturday, the pirates holding Phillips in the lifeboat fired a few shots at a small U.S. Navy vessel that had approached, a U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The official said the U.S. sailors did not return fire, the Navy vessel turned away and no one was hurt. He said the vessel had not been attempting a rescue. The pirates are believed armed with pistols and AK-47 assault rifles.

Phillips jumped out of the lifeboat Friday and tried to swim for his freedom but was recaptured when a pirate fired an automatic weapon at or near him, according to U.S. Defense Department officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk about the unfolding operations.

"When I spoke to the crew, they won't consider it done when they board a plane and come home," Maersk President John Reinhart said from Norfolk, Virginia before news of Phillips' rescue. "They won't consider it done until the captain is back, nor will we."

In Phillips' hometown, the Rev. Charles Danielson of the St. Thomas Church said before the news broke that the congregation would continue to pray for Phillips and his family, who are members, and he would encourage "people to find hope in the triumph of good over evil."

Reinhart said he spoke with Phillips' wife, Andrea, who is surrounded by family and two company employees who were sent to support her.

"She's a brave woman," Reinhart said. "And she has one favor to ask: 'Do what you have to do to bring Richard home safely.' That means don't make a mistake, folks. We have to be perfect in our execution."
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:21 PM
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Ship Captain Rescued From Somali Pirates

Sunday , April 12, 2009




American sea Captain Richard Phillips was safely rescued Sunday from four Somali pirates, who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, a U.S. ntelligence official said.

Three of the pirates were killed and one was in custody after what appeared to be a swift firefight off the Somali coast, the official said.
Initial reports indicate Phillips jumped overboard for a second time and the military was able to take advantage of the situation.

Phillips, 53, of Underhill, Vt., was transported to the USS Bainbridge nearby.

The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Asked whether the pirate arrested will now be brought to the U.S. for prosecution, the Department of Justice told FOX News, they will be "reviewing the evidence and other issues to determine whether to seek prosecution in the United States."

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.
Sunday that Phillips had been rescued. He was to hold a media briefing later Sunday.

Reinhart said the company called Phillips' wife, Andrea, to tell her the news. He said the crew of the Maersk Alabama was "jubilant" when they received word that Phillips was safe.

The rest of the crew and the ship had made it safely to a port in Kenya.
A government official and others in Somali with knowledge of the situation had reported hours earlier that negotiations for Phillips' release had broken down.

Talks began Thursday with the captain of the USS Bainbridge talking to the pirates under instruction from FBI hostage negotiators on board the U.S. destroyer.

U.S. warships and helicopters stalked the lifeboat holding Phillips and his four Somali captors Sunday, while his crew briefed FBI agents about how they fought off the pirates who boarded their ship, the Maersk Alabama.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,514719,00.html
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:57 PM
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I praise God for the courageous men who made this rescue operation a success. Maybe the thugs of Somalia will get the message, that they too can become carb bait very easily.

To complete this cycle, I hope the mothership of these thugs has been identified, and also submitted to the Deep.
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Old 04-12-2009, 01:21 PM
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(CNN) -- The American captain of a cargo ship held hostage by pirates jumped overboard from the lifeboat where he was being held, and U.S. Navy SEALs shot and killed three of his four captors, according to a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation.
Capt. Richard Phillips escaped from pirates holding him in a lifeboat, a U.S. official said Sunday.

Capt. Richard Phillips was helped out of the water off the Somali coast and is uninjured and in good condition, the official said. He was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge, a nearby naval warship.

At the time of the shootings, the fourth pirate was aboard the Bainbridge negotiating with officials, the source said. That pirate was taken into custody.

Maersk Line Limited, owner of the cargo ship that Phillips captained, issued a statement saying it was informed at 1:30 p.m. by the U.S. government that he had been rescued. John Reinhart, president and CEO, called Phillips' wife, Andrea, to tell her the good news.

Crew members from the ship, the Maersk Alabama, were "jubilant" when they received word, the statement says.

"We are all absolutely thrilled to learn that Richard is safe and will be re-united with his family," Reinhart said. "Maersk Line Limited is deeply grateful to the Navy, the FBI and so many others for their tireless efforts to secure Richard's freedom."

"We look forward to welcoming him home in the coming days," Reinhart added.

Earlier Sunday, Maersk said the U.S. Navy had informed the company that it had sighted Phillips in the lifeboat where the pirates were holding him.
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Old 04-12-2009, 01:29 PM
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Who ever rescued this guy, Way to go, But why is there still one alive? Our courts don't have enough prisoners?
I was watching a news show and this guy said he would report who and how this rescue happened , as soon as he found out. You know, I just as soon not know, so maybe the next time the who and how are needed it will again be a surprise. And one other thing, he's free again so leave him and his family along and think about all the money the Dems are spending.

Ron
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Old 04-12-2009, 01:51 PM
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President Barack Obama said Phillips had courage that was ''a model for all Americans.''

Obama said he was pleased that Phillips was rescued, adding that the United States needs help from other countries to deal with the threat of piracy and to hold pirates accountable.

The Navy said Phillips was freed at 7:19 p.m. local time. He was taken aboard the Norfolk, Virginia-based USS Bainbridge and then flown to the San Diego-based USS Boxer for the medial exam, 5th Fleet spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen said.

Christensen said Phillips was now ''resting comfortably.'' The USS Boxer was in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia, Christensen said.

The U.S. did not say if Phillips, 53, of Underhill, Vermont, was receiving medical care because he had been injured or if he was being treated for exposure after his ordeal.

U.S. officials said a pirate who had been involved in negotiations to free Phillips but who was not on the lifeboat during the rescue was in military custody. FBI spokesman John Miller said that would change as the situation became ''more of a criminal issue than a military issue.''

Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said prosecutors were looking at ''evidence and other issues'' to determine whether to bring a case in the United States. The pirate could face a life sentence if convicted, officials said.
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Old 04-12-2009, 02:58 PM
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Default Somali pirate in custody, could face life sentence

AP


WASHINGTON – A Somali pirate captured following a hostage standoff in the Indian Ocean was in military custody Sunday and could face life in a U.S. prison.

"He's in military custody right now," FBI spokesman John Miller said. "That will change as this becomes more of a criminal issue than a military issue."

Both piracy and hostage-taking carry life sentences under U.S. law.

Three pirates were killed Sunday in a military operation that rescued Capt. Richard Phillips, who had been held hostage aboard a lifeboat for days.

Both Miller and Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said no decisions have been made regarding charges against the lone surviving pirate.

"The Justice Department will be reviewing the evidence and other issues to determine whether to seek prosecution in the United States," Boyd said.

Phillips was taken hostage after his cargo ship was attacked by pirates. The crew thwarted the hijacking but the pirates fled with Phillips into a lifeboat.

Attorney General Eric Holder said this past week that the U.S. hasn't seen a case of piracy against an American ship in hundreds of years. U.S. prosecutors do have jurisdiction to bring charges when a crime is committed against a U.S. citizen or on a U.S. ship.

Officials said the pirate surrendered to U.S. forces. Details of the surrender were not immediately unclear but, under international law, the Navy has the right to hold pirates captured at sea and does not need to negotiate extradition with another country.

The U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Somalia.

The FBI office in New York is running the investigation because it oversees cases involving U.S. citizens in Africa.

The U.S. is treating the matter as a criminal case because officials have found no direct ties between East African pirates and terror groups. Because the U.S. is not at war with Somalia, piracy cases are governed by U.S. and international law.

The FBI investigates crimes committed on the high seas but piracy is unusual. Assaults on cruise ships are the most common offenses investigated at sea.

"If there were ever a U.S. victim of one of these attacks or a U.S. shipping line that were a victim, our Justice Department has said that it would favorably consider prosecuting such apprehended pirates," Stephen Mull, the acting undersecretary of state for international security and arms control, told Congress last month.
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Old 04-12-2009, 03:09 PM
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Default Officer: Split-second decision to fire on pirates

AP


WASHINGTON – A U.S. military official says Navy Seals and other officers opened fire on three pirates when a Navy commander made a split-second decision that an American hostage's life was in danger.

Vice Adm. Bill Gortney also says the pirates made a ransom demand for the release of Capt. Richard Phillips.

Gortney says the pirates threatened throughout the ordeal to kill Phillips. Gortney says the pirates were armed with AK-47s and small-caliber pistols, and were pointing the AK-47s at the captain.

Gortney says the commander of the nearby USS Bainbridge believed Phillips was in "imminent danger" when he ordered sailors to fire at the armed pirates.

Gortney says the White House had given "very clear guidance and authority" that if any time the commander Capt. Phillips' life was in danger to take action to make sure it was not

Gortney spoke in a telephone conference call from Bahrain. He is the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
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Old 04-12-2009, 03:33 PM
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Default Hmmm

SEALS firing from the deck of the Bainbridge. Didn't somebody on this site recommend that after his first escape attempt? Didn't somebody on this site wonder why they didn't have men in position the first time?

GOD Bless the United States Navy!

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Old 04-12-2009, 04:52 PM
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How the rescue happened

Posted By Uncle Jimbo


I just finished listening to the press conference w/ ADM Gortney about the rescue of Captain Phillips. At the time it happened the USS Bainbridge was towing the lifeboat to calmer waters as the sea state was deteriorating. One of the pirates was on board the Bainbridge as the talks about obtaining Phillip's release continued.

The lifeboat was approx. 25 m behind the Bainbridge when snipers on the fantail observed one of the pirates in the pilot house of the lifeboat pointing an AK-47 at the back of a tied up Phillips and the other two pirates on board were visible (at least shoulders and heads).

The standing authority gave them clearance to engage the pirates if the life of the captain was in imminent danger. The on scene commander deemed this to be true and gave the order to fire. All three bad guys were taken out and then a rigid inflatable boat went to the lifeboat to retrieve Phillips.

Iti is unknown at this point whether the shooters were SEALs or Marine Scout Snipers as both would have been available. This was not a rescue attempt ordered by National Command Authority i.e. the President. It was a reaction by the on scene commander under standard authority to safeguard the life of a hostage.

The AP is reporting that President Obama gave the order to use military force to rescue the hostage, that is misleading.


WASHINGTON (AP)—Administration officials say President Barack Obama approved the military operation that rescued a U.S. captain held hostage by Somali pirates.

The officials say Obama ordered the Defense Department to use military resources to rescue Richard Phillips from a lifeboat off the Somali coast.


He did affirm the military's authorization to use force if the captain's life was in danger, but they already would have had that authorization as part of their standard rules of engagement. If there are innocents about to be slaughtered the same reasoning that authorizes self defense also covers an imminent execution unless the ROE specifically forbid it.The AP is making it sound like there was an active rescue ordered by the President.

It was not, there was an imminent threat and the local commander gave the order to fire. Good on Obama for ensuring their authorization was clear, but let's also be clear that he did not authorize or order an active rescue attempt.
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