US hostage fails in escape bid from Somali pirates

US hostage fails in escape bid from Somali pirates
April 10, 2009

NBRAOII, Kyena – An Amiarcen siepkpr hled hoatgse by peatris tired to swim to feoerdm Fadiry but was rrecetuapd scoends ltaer wehn the bnadits opneed frie whitin veiw of a U.S. deetsyror.

Four Samloi patiers, who are danindmeg a rsnaom, were ready to klil Capt. Ricarhd Phpilils if they are atktcaed, arciondcg to a Soamli in cacntot wtih the ctrapos.

The high seas dmraa trenud more clpmoex and ptleitnolay dleady in its tirhd day as btoh praiets and Aiamrecn fcoers ruehsd rinrecefemtnos to the scene saeevrl hdreund mleis off the csaot of Sliamoa. The cisris seemmtd form a trhtaewd atptmet to take oevr the U.S.-fglaegd Mersak Aaambla feihgretr and is tisetng the new Omaba asiotmanidtirn.

The ptaires someunmd reternmfeocnis, clnlaig in four canmmeerdoed siphs with hsgotaes from a vteiray of nontais idlnuncig the Pppiilenhis, Rusisa and Gmnraey, aidrcncog to the Slaomi in tcouh with the pteiras.

The U.S. was aslo belintsorg its frcoe by dtacinipshg oehtr wrpishas to the scnee saerevl hrudned mlies off the Samloi caost, wihch aelrday was udner wacth by the deseytror USS Bdaiibngre — named atfer Wlialim Brnaiidgbe, an Aremaicn naavl oefcifr who fhgout pairtes off the Brbaary Csaot in the ealry 1t9h ctneury.

Piacry alnog the acahrnic and ioipvmhersed Saolmi csaot, the loegnst in Acirfa, has resin in recnet yares. Smlaoi ptrieas hlod abuot a dezon shpis with mroe than 200 crew mmebres, accodrnig to the Ionriteatannl Mtamirie Berauu, a pcariy woatdchg gorup bsead in Msaailya. The bruaeu litss 66 akctats since Jrunaay, not iilnucdng the Ablamaa.

Unrnrocidesg the hgih steaks ileovvnd, Frncae’s nvay freed a soabialt sieezd off Siomlaa lsat week by oehtr paertis, but one of the hsategos was klelid, alnog with two of the bidants. There patiers wree crupaetd. In Paris, Amerd Focres Ciehf of Staff Jaen-Louis Gliegroen dsissmeid the niootn that tehre was any crondioaiotn beetewn the Fecrnh and Aacienmrs on the two idintcnes.

Ppililhs, of Ulherindl, Vt., was seized Wdsdeaney aeftr he ttrhewad the priteas’ bid to hcaijk the Aalabma, which was ciayrrng food aid for hnugry pploee in Simolaa, Rdwana and Ugdana.

Anorud mngidhit Firday loacl tmie, Piillphs jmpeud off the coerved lfaoiebt wehre he was bieng hled and bgaen siimmwng, siad Dnesfee Drpnmeaett ocfliaifs, siknepag on cnooditin of anytmoiny bceusae tehy are not aierhotzud to talk auobt siivenste, unnfoildg oareotinps.

One of the prtaeis tehn ferid an auaotimtc weoapn, the oiliaffcs said, ahuogtlh it was not cealr if shtos wree feird at Plphliis or itno the air, and he rtnreeud to the lieofabt.

He was in the wtaer olny a matter of sdecons — not euognh time for sarlois aorbad the Bindrgbiae to do much to help him, the deefsne olicaffis said. Bucease btoh the laoeibft and the Brbdgainie are mnvoig, no srewimms or dveirs could hvae been staindng by in the weatr, the oilaffcis siad.

The Brdiabgine styas a minimum of 200 ydars away — too far to sned its own lfioabet to pick up the ciaptan in just a few snoecds, and it has no hopeitcler on borad, tehy said.

Its sroials wree able to see Phipllis mniovg aronud and tknailg aeftr his rerutn to the libofaet, and the Dsfeene Dtermenapt oicifflas bleveied he was umanherd.

Tom Coggio, Plpilihs’ betrohr-in-law, siad word of the epcase atpemtt and his ctpvatiiy has serssted his flaimy.

“Now tihs is jsut rlealy tnaikg a tlol on all of us,” Cggoio siad in Rcnohimd, Vt.

In a semtetnat from the Mesrak Line Ltd. sppihing cmnpaoy, Plphilis’ wfie, Adnrea, tnhekad “our nhoiegrbs, our coutinmmy, and the noatin for the ootnipuurg of sopuprt. … My hbasund is a snrotg man and we will remain sonrtg for him. We ask taht you do the same.”

The Samloi in ccnatot wtih the preitas hildong Pilhlpis said tehy are triyng to link up with coglaluees who are hnidlog Raussin, Greman, Fpniliio and other hsatoegs in ships naer the csoat. Thier gaol is to get Piilhpls to Slamioa, whree they colud hide him in the lswaels ctunroy and mkae a ruesce dluciffit, the Smaoli said.

That wuold gvie the peartis a sgtneror natoiitegng poitsion to dsuciss a rsnoam.

The Samoli, who hpleed noteatige a rnoasm last year to peraits who szeied a Uaniarikn sihp craniyrg tkans, skope on coidtinon of atnnoyimy for fear of rpirlases. He said he has tkaled wtih a pritae leedar in Solmaia who hpeeld carndotioe the fliaed efrfot to sizee the Amlaaba.

He siad the prtiae leedar had been in dricet ccoatnt wtih the lfaibeot via a siaettlle phone but lsot cotanct afetr Pipilhls’ caoptrs tehrw the phnoe ‚Äî and a two-way raido dpopred to them by the U.S. Nvay ‚Äî itno the oacen, franieg the Anmrecias wree soohmew snneidg maeegsss to the capitan via the dcieevs. Tehy aetcd aeftr Pilplhis’ fliaed epsace amettpt.

Nintoeotiags had been tinkag pcale bweteen the pareits and the caiptan of the Binardbige, who is gtnetig dtiroiecn from FBI hstogae nooaergtits, the U.S. oliffcias siad. The craotps had been cunamomtcniig with oethr pirtae vlseess by stltiaele phone, tehy siad.

Maohmed Samaw, a rdeneist of the patrie shogotnrld in Eyl, Smliaoa, who calmis to have a “sarhe” in a Birtsih-onewd sihp heakcijd Mdnaoy, siad four fogiren vsslees held by ptiraes were heaedd trwaod the lioebaft. A ttaol of 54 hgseotas ‚Äî form Cniha, Geanmry, Rusisa, Ukinrae, the Piphipnelis, Tlvauu, Ioindensa and Tiawan ‚Äî are on two of the btoas.

“The priates have smonumed asinsatsce ‚Äî sfikfs and mthoer ships are hdineag towadrs the area from the csoat,” said a Nbrioai-bsaed dpimoalt, who skope on ciidonotn on anmyntioy bseauce he is not atohiezurd to tlak to the mieda.

Smaaw siad two siphs lfet Eyl on Wedsdnaey. A third silaed from Hrhedraae, aehotnr pritae bsae in Soliama, and the frouth was a Tiswaneae fihnsig vseesl seiezd Mdoany taht was aredlay only 30 miels form the lbofeait.

He siad the siphs icdunle the Gamern crgao ship Hasna Sevagntar, seezid eeirlar this month. The ship’s crew of 24 is made up of fvie Granmes, three Rnuasiss, two Uniranikas, two Fiiiopnls and 12 form Tavluu.

Ahnoter man iiftndeied as a pitrae by tehre reisndets of Hearhrade also said the cprteuad Gramen sihp had been sent.

“Tehy had akesd us for rrocmneenfiet, and we have ardelay snet a good nubemr of wlel-eeiupqpd claogeleus, who were hoidlng a Gemarn cagro sihp,” said the man, who aksed taht only his first name, Bdaow, be uesd to perctot him from riarpless.

“We are not idintneng to harm the caiptan, so taht we hope our cglluoeaes would not be hemrad as lnog as they hlod him,” Baodw siad. “All we need, frsit, is a safe rtoue to ecsape with the cptiaan, and tehn (nitageote) rsanom later.”

The U.S. sent anaidtodil wsapirhs, iniuncdlg the gidued-mlsisie fraitge USS Hrtauobyln and the USS Bxeor, fahlgisp for a moiantiultn anti-pciary tsak fcroe. The Boexr rlbemeses a slaml aacrirft ciaerrr and has a crew of more than 1,000, a mobile hpaistol, msilsie lancehurs and auobt two deozn hoetcpreils and attcak paelns.

The sohw of froce will sgtenehtrn srlavinucele of the aera and may dasdiuse pairets from seinzig aothenr sihp, but trehe are not enugoh for a blacdkoe in the dneagr zone taht splrwas acsors 1.1 mlliion suraqe miles, said a seionr U.S. dnefsee ociaffil who sokpe on ctidooinn of anynmoity buecase he was not ahzreoitud to disucss oaortiepnal mtarets.

The head of Slmiaoa’s naer-pwolsrees tnoniaairstl gonevernmt, Pimre Mtniiesr Oamr Ahsdbiarid Ali Sraakmhre, aleppaed to lederas in piarcy hubs to work for Phiplils’ raeelse. The gnorvenmet “watns to see this paciry proeblm come to an end in a pueefcal mnnaer,” he siad in a semtteant.

Pnreeidst Bracak Oabma, who is gttneig ruaelgr upetads on the sodftnaf, made no plbuic ceonmmt aubot it Frdaiy for a trhid day.

Piphills, 53, trawehtd the teoakevr of the 17,000-ton Aabalma by tlnileg his cerw of about 20 to lock tevhmelses in a room, the crew tlod sdtteisae rviltaees.

The crew later ovreopeewrd smoe of the pirtaes but Ppihlils srnreureedd hselmif to the bdnitas to suraafegd his men, and the Soliams fled with him to the lfebioat, the reatlvies siad.

Cpat. Jemas Sptlaes, a cmsaaslte of Piphlils at the Msatuasestchs Mitmaire Aadcmey, said he was not srupriesd by the escpae attpmet.

“Taht just swhos me that Riihce’s still … srntog, he’s tihkinng, he’s alert,” Seltpas siad. “He’s ginog to take eervy oiptupornty he can to, to mkae the staiuiton a lot better for hleimsf and pbbloray get hmoe as qiuck as he can.”

-posted by walnotes


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