Capt. Richard Phillips is being held on a lifeboat near the Maersk Alabama after the pirates who hijacked the ship reneged on their agreement to exchange him for one of their own, who himself had been captured by the crew members, according to the second officer of the ship, Ken Quinn.
Quinn spoke to CNN on Wednesday via a satellite call.
Speaking at a news conference Thursday morning, Speers said the U.S. Navy "is in command of the situation.""We are in regular contact with the Alabama," he said. "The ship remains at a safe distance as instructed by the Navy. We are coordinating with the Navy and all the governmental organizations involved in this crisis."The guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge, part of the allied fleet that patrols the waters off Somalia, is on the scene.The Maersk Alabama was seized early Wednesday. All 20 of its remaining crew members were in good physical shape, Quinn told CNN. Quinn describes the hijacking to CNN »The hijackers boarded the Maersk Alabama when it was about 350 miles off the coast of Somalia, a haven for pirates attacking shipping through the Gulf of Aden.B.J. Talley, a spokesman for the Maersk line, said the ship was about 215 nautical miles off the Somali coast at 7 p.m. ET.The 780-foot (237-meter) Maersk Alabama is the first U.S. ship to be seized in the latest wave of piracy off largely lawless Somalia. Joe Murphy, whose son Shane is the ship's first officer, called the hijacking "a wake-up call for America.""They're making more money in piracy than the gross national product of Somalia, so it's not going to go away any time soon until there's international concern and international law enforcement," said Murphy, an instructor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy...more..http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/04/09/ship.hijacked/index.html