Pirate Ship With Capt. Phillips Close to Reaching Shore

Apparently, the pirates have fuel after all, and are within 20 miles of reaching shore, with kidnapped Captain Phillips, who is still alive.

The New York Times reports negotiations have failed because the U.S. is insisting on arresting the pirates. As experts predicted last night, the pirates are willing to release Captain Phillips without the ransom if they don't get arrested.

The priority should be the safe return of Captain Phillips, not retribution. Prosecuting these particular pirates will not stop the next hijacking. Until the conditions in Somalia causing the piracy are addressed, the hijackings will continue.

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    As long as pirates get a payoff (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:39:02 PM EST
    this will continue. The ONLY way to end it is to eliminate the pot of gold they are after.

    Toxic waste behind Somali piracy? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Dadler on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:48:59 PM EST
    Interesting, but the article is also (none / 0) (#7)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 09:04:25 PM EST
    6 months old. Any idea what has happened to that ship since then?

    Well... (none / 0) (#8)
    by Addison on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 09:04:42 PM EST
    ...according to that history (which I haven't seen any rebuttal for as of yet) it's true that Somalian piracy has its roots in informal Coast Guards units that were attempting to thwart illegal European and Asian fishing and dumping.

    However, much of the piracy of recent months and years bears little relation to those roots. It has changed goals, changed its targets, and the number of incidents have skyrocketed.

    In considering how to stop this piracy we should accept that the roots of the problem and its current manifestation are different enough that the roots are a matter for history and not policy.

    That said it's unfortunate that there may still be some Somalian "pirates" acting to protect their coastline rather than seeking ransoms.


    They've been taking (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 09:11:36 PM EST
    freighters and container carriers and oil tankers and yachts, not fishing trawlers or waste dumpers.  I think it's pretty safe to say that they're no longer interested in protecting their waters, just in getting as much cash money as possible, and freighters and oil tankers and yachts are what get you big ransoms, not fishing trawlers or waste dumpers.

    And now they're taking food (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 09:22:41 PM EST
    that was on Phillips' ship, food for three countries including the pirates' own.  So the pirates are stealing from their own people, not protecting them from environmental problems.

    If there was a noble cause, it's long gone: These are criminals, these are torturers, these are murderers.  


    As far as I know (none / 0) (#13)
    by CoralGables on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 09:36:06 PM EST
    These are criminals, these are torturers, these are murderers.  

    so far they would just be criminals. The death of the French hostage may have been at the hands of the rescuers.


    I'm not sure what the relevant maritime law is, (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by andgarden on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 09:43:28 PM EST
    but they did create the situation, right?

    That would hold (none / 0) (#22)
    by CoralGables on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:12:19 PM EST
    in many states in the US under the "death as a result of the commission of a felony", but I have no grasp on either Maritime Law or the United Nations Law of the Sea. I assume both come into play here as to Rules of Engagement when no one has been harmed.

    There is one UN law I found that comes into play though. Based on this you can bet that lifeboat will never get within 12 miles of the coastline with the captain still onboard.

    "3. The right of hot pursuit ceases as soon as the ship pursued enters the territorial sea of its own State or of a third State."


    There have been reports (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 09:45:21 PM EST
    of torture and murder of their own people for not cooperating with the piracy.

    As for the Frenchman killed in front of his wife and child, yes, the determination is not done as to which country's bullets killed him in the rescue of others.  But Somali piracy is still responsible for his death.


    I was thinking felony murder, yes (none / 0) (#24)
    by andgarden on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:22:05 PM EST
    But I don't think it's too common outside of the U.S. anymore. (Though it does appear in the Model Penal Code).

    If I could (none / 0) (#32)
    by BrassTacks on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 03:26:12 AM EST
    Give you more than 5 points, I would.

    Why is this situation so very difficult to understand?  This was an AIDE ship, filled with food and medical supplies that starving people in Africa need.  Now that food won't get there because of these ruthless, disgusting, thug, murders.  More Africans will die because of these criminals.  

    Is there a reason why our President hasn't commented on this horrible situation?!  He could say SOMETHING, ANYTHING would be better than him ignoring the situation!


    It is now clear... (none / 0) (#47)
    by Addison on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 02:20:26 PM EST
    ...that his silence on the issue was out of deference to letting the SEALS work with the tactical advantage of surprise. If he had detailed even generalities of the US response the situation would've been unnecessarily complicated.

    Thank you! (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by JoeCHI on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:21:24 PM EST
    If Obama screws this up, the Democrats are going to have to deal with the "p*ssy" label for a long, long time.

    What is Obama's position? (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by BrassTacks on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 03:30:05 AM EST
    And when is he going to tell us?  

    Where the hell is Obama on this deal?  He could at least say something to the Captain's family.  To ignore the whole situation seems rather heartless.  


    Yep (none / 0) (#39)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 09:17:39 AM EST
    What are they afraid of?

    The U.S. has said (none / 0) (#41)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 10:18:56 AM EST
    exactly what it fears:  That the captain would be killed, exactly as happened a couple of days ago in the course of the French rescue of its hostages.

    Have you not read the list of weaponry and ammo that Somali pirates have?  Top of the line, state of the art killing machinery.


    When has the potential death of... (none / 0) (#44)
    by Romberry on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 11:50:05 AM EST
    ...an innocent stopped us before? It didn't stop us in Iraq. It isn't stopping us in Afghanistan or Pakistan now. Hard to see that a single life would prevent us from unleashing the machinery of death in this case. Then again, perhaps the fact that the media is paying attention (and doing a poor job of reporting) has something to do with it...

    This is not a military case (none / 0) (#45)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 12:30:17 PM EST
    which may be why it is being treated differently by the federal government and the media.  I am not in either, so your question would be addressed there or in a thread about the war.  This case is of  unarmed civilian Americans being captured by pirates and one unarmed civilian American being kidnapped.  (I would suspect that if those events occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan, it also could be treated differently than cases of military actions, much as I disagree with those).  

    Hang on! (none / 0) (#46)
    by Romberry on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 01:01:58 PM EST
    We kill civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan all the time. And this is now most certainly a military op. The only difference here is that the media is paying attention. In a way, it's akin to the difference between the sort of attention that gets paid when a young white girl goes missing from a nice neighborhood or vacation destination and the (utter lack of) attention paid when the victim is a poor black woman.

    All I am saying here is that concern for a single life doesn't stop us from unleashing death...unless it might be covered in living color.


    Yes. That is a different situation (none / 0) (#49)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 03:27:42 PM EST
    of course.  And I fully understand when the governments of Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan react to attacks on unarmed civilians, too.

    Now, focus on this case.


    the comment you are reply to (none / 0) (#48)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 02:38:53 PM EST
    has been deleted. You may not advocate killing people on this blog.

    Seems to me (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Steve M on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:29:05 PM EST
    that giving them safe passage while recovering the hostage is a perfectly acceptable outcome, as long as they don't get any benefit out of it.

    I can't vouch for the claims made... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Romberry on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:45:27 AM EST
    ...but there is an entry over at The Huffington Post which is at least interesting. See London Independent columnist Johann Hari's You Are Being Lied to About Pirates.

    A point I will make on my own without regard to the Hari column is this: Your point of view about things often depends on where you happen to be standing when the fecal matter hits the air movement system. In our own war for independence, the Brits certainly considered us criminals, and under British law, they were right. We were a thieving, pirating, treasonous bunch. Anyway, I'm of the opinion that before rushing to judgment ("Kill 'em!"), it might be a good idea to step back and try getting the other side of the story. You may still feel that the other side is wrong, and the law may agree with you, but that doesn't mean the issue is black and white.

    As your link says (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 09:16:06 AM EST
    "some are clearly just gangsters - especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies."

    That is exactly the situation in the current case; Phillips is captain of an aid ship carrying food supplies for three countries.  So the criminals who hold him are just that, criminals.

    As for the rest of the sorry situation of Somalia, and the situation of some fishermen who may not be pirates, that sad history already was posted here.


    How about just lying to them? (4.20 / 5) (#9)
    by andgarden on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 09:09:47 PM EST

    Lie first, then turn the pirates into fish food... (none / 0) (#16)
    by JoeCHI on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:18:52 PM EST
    with the biggest friggen torpedo and rocket that you can find!

    If this ends up turning out badly, the GOP will have a year of talking points that include something to the effect: "If Obama can't "negotiate" with a handful of uneducated Somali pirates stranded in the middle of the ocean on a lifeboat, what makes you think he's competent enough to handle the likes of Iran, the Taliban, and Al Quaeda and their nuclear weapons?"


    Remember the drone that fired a rocket (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:23:29 PM EST
    and took out a car on a road in Yemen (I think) that was carrying some of the terrorists involved in the attack on the USS Cole (I think)?

    That drone was might accurate and hit a tiny target on a huge desert. Why can't the drones be used to deter these pirates?


    How good are sharpshooters on a chopper? (none / 0) (#21)
    by andgarden on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:47:35 PM EST
    It's been reported (none / 0) (#23)
    by CoralGables on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:14:44 PM EST
    that it's a covered lifeboat. If that's the case you may need to have Clark Kent as the sniper.

    My next thought would be to set it on fire. (none / 0) (#25)
    by andgarden on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:22:56 PM EST
    Several years ago (none / 0) (#26)
    by CoralGables on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:37:03 PM EST
    there was a boat coming from Cuba full of people trying to reach the mainland with the coast guard telling them to turn back.

    Naturally they kept plodding forward until the coast guard intentionally sideswiped the boat, dumping a portion of them into the water and ending the pursuit.

    It reminded me of when cops clip the rear end of a fleeing driver ending the ordeal (the name for that maneuver escapes me). Of course the occupants of that boat weren't carrying guns.


    One way or another, they'll get a TV movie (none / 0) (#27)
    by andgarden on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 11:40:03 PM EST
    out of this.

    And the conditions in Somalia... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:14:36 PM EST
    ...aren't changing in our lifetimes barring a miracle.  We let the murder of others overseas with our weaponry go unpunished time and time again, and THIS is what we're going press for "justice" on?  Unreal.  If I were this captain's family, I would be making a lot of noise, if not more than just noise, whatever that could be.

    What's going on in this country? (none / 0) (#2)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:19:27 PM EST
    Have we lost all ability to be clever negotiators?  Do the cops only lie to defendents here in the US and tell them they have carte balanche if only they do whatever is asked of them?  Not that I think that's a great practice, but this doesn't strike me as the kind of situation where you tell the hostage takers that they have to submit to being arrested "or else".  The pirates are the ones who offer the meaningful "or else" in this situation.  Am I completely stupid or isn't this one of those things where you get the hostage out safely and then you figure out how to get the pirates?

    There are (none / 0) (#4)
    by CoralGables on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:40:53 PM EST
    by one count, 18 other ships in port with 267 other hostages. This negotiation may be only about one, but the outcome of this one could effect the lives of many others.

    Yes I know. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:53:44 PM EST
    And Solmolian pirates have been doing this for some time now, the ransoms have been paid, and people have gotten home safely.  Now the US has decided to get involved and we are asking people to surrender themselves "or else".

    There are a lot of things that they could share with these pirates privately once they got this guy out that would be more effective than requests to arrest them that are publicized.


    Remind me when we had that ability (none / 0) (#31)
    by cymro on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 02:12:16 AM EST
    All I can recall are siege situations in which police had their intended targets completely surrounded yet still precipitated unnecessary gunfights just because they ran out of patience. For a few memorable examples, recall the SLA shootout in LA, the MOVE incident in Philly, the WACO siege, and the Ruby Ridge siege.

    For good measure, consider also Thelma and Louise, which, though fictional, also showed macho American police itching to get into a gun battle. It is no coincidence that the movie script embraced this theme -- being "clever negotiators" does not seem to be a particularly well-developed national character trait.


    Piracy is a whole other legal issue. (none / 0) (#51)
    by Salo on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:04:17 PM EST
    It should be violently curtailed.

    Your comment is odd ... (none / 0) (#52)
    by cymro on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 01:25:52 AM EST
    ...it has no bearing on mine, or the point I was responding to. Did you post it in the wrong place?

    No fuel, just drifting (none / 0) (#20)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 10:41:51 PM EST
    Amazing. (none / 0) (#30)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 01:23:41 AM EST
    Until the conditions in Somalia causing the piracy are addressed, the hijackings will continue.

    Conditions in Somalia may permit piracy, but cause is merely an assertion.  As far as we know that this piracy is driven primarily by plain old lust for riches.  Big paydays, and low risk.  Those are the conditions that make piracy attractive and that need to change.  

    The Obama administration has the ability to address both of those conditions.  If it so chooses.

    When might they CHOOSE to do something? (none / 0) (#34)
    by BrassTacks on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 03:32:07 AM EST
    Here (none / 0) (#36)
    by CoralGables on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 08:43:58 AM EST
    is a picture of what the covered lifeboat from the Alabama probably looks like along with what is (or should be) on the boat based on acceptable safety precautions.

    Looks like this could drag on for several weeks without a problem.

    Covered Lifeboat

    The Fate of Capt. Phillips is important (none / 0) (#37)
    by tokin librul on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 09:14:19 AM EST
    but there are circumstances that militate for mitigation.

    Until you have evidence (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 10:29:53 AM EST
    along with everyone else here who keeps posting that and similar links, please read them carefully.  Where is your evidence that the Somalis in this case -- and the other cases that mean almost 270 others are held hostage right now -- are poor fishermen and environmental heroes?

    As your own link states, if you read it, "some are just gangsters" capturing aid ships, such as the one captained by Phillips, full of food that was supposed to be for the truly suffering Somalis (and people of two other countries) but instead is sold to make rich men of only a few of them.  The aid now is slowing down and even stopping, rather than have it continue to enrich the criminals.

    It's like reading the excuses for Al Capone, because he came from poverty or, after all, because he gave a lot of jobs to other gangsters.  Millions of others also came from poverty then, but they didn't become criminals.  And he also was a folk hero for some people, but that says more about them than about him.


    Seems to me the pirates... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 09:43:40 AM EST
    have made a most reasonable offer, if you think the Captain's life is what is important here, it's a no-brainer to take the deal.

    If you value shipping lanes more than lives, then yeah, unleash the drones.

    This captain needs to be rescued (none / 0) (#43)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 10:36:55 AM EST
    But, drones could easily be used to shoot near pirate ships heading for freighters as an encouragement to turn around, and let them know they are being watched and are "in our sites". Enough of that and they won't be so courageous.

    Jeralyn (none / 0) (#50)
    by Salo on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:02:27 PM EST
    Pirates should be roughly handled. Retribution is a good answer to hijacking the High Seas.