Wait... Reuters called the pirates on their sat phone? They contacted these thugs for quotes??
MOGADISHU/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy negotiated on Thursday with Somali pirates who held an American ship captain hostage in a lifeboat in the Indian Ocean, their first such seizure of a U.S. citizen.
The gunmen briefly hijacked the 17,000-tonne Maersk Alabama freighter Wednesday, but the 20 American crew retook control after a confrontation far out at sea where pirates have captured five other vessels in a week.
Four gang members were holding the captain, Richard Phillips, on the ship's lifeboat after he apparently volunteered to be a hostage for the sake of his crew.
Reached by Reuters via satellite phone, the pirates on the lifeboat sounded desperate. "We are surrounded by warships and don't have time to talk," one said. "Please pray for us."
In Somalia's Haradheere port, an associate of the gang said they were armed and ready to defend themselves.
"Our friends are still holding the captain, but they cannot move, they are afraid of the warships," he told Reuters. "We want a ransom and, of course, the captain is our shield. The warships might not destroy the boat as long as he is on board."
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Reuters on the hostage situation: