Quantcast

Pirates Demand Ransom for Phillips - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Pirates Demand Ransom for Phillips

Capt. Richard Phillips Capt. Richard Phillips
Mohamed Abdi Mohamed Abdi
Julian Portilla Julian Portilla

Mombasa, Kenya - April 10, 2009

Defense officials say Captain Richard Phillips, 55, jumped in the water during the night and tried to swim to a U.S. military ship hundreds of yards away. But the pirates were able to pull him back into the lifeboat where he is being held.  They then tied him up. The Navy is blocking access to the lifeboat while other pirates are trying to intervene.

There's word that the bandits are now asking for $2 million in exchange for Captain Phillips.

The Phillips family is hunkered down and holding out hope in Underhill.  The incident is highlighting an international problem many did not know existed.

"They are very dangerous people," says Mohamed Abdi, a Somali immigrant now living in Vermont.

While pirates have existed for hundreds, if not thousands of years, the problem has increased recently.

Abdi is the leader of a group of 700 Somali Bantu tribe members, who relocated to Vermont, after being chased out of their own country by violent gangs.  He believes those gangs took their criminal activity to sea, after a crackdown on land by the Ethiopian military.

"Before that there was not more pirates in the ocean but what I think is that's what caused the pirates to shift from land and go to the sea," say Abdi.

Dealing with the pirates can be a tricky situation.  Experts in hostage negotiation say it takes time to build a rapport with the captors.  They must build trust with the hijackers and guarantee their safety.

Then there is the question of whether or not using force is a better approach.

"You know the question is do we negotiate? Because if you negotiate with one are you just rewarding bad behavior and encouraging other hostage takers to do the same," says Champlain College Professor Julian Portilla, who focuses on the topic of mediation.

That could be a major factor in this current situation.

Just last year pirates hijacked a Saudi oil tanker and netted $3 million in ransom money.

"I'd want to know who's in charge of that network, where they are, what they want and what kind of pressure you can put on them," says Portilla.

Finding those at the top of the pirate network may be an easy task for the U-S Navy and the FBI negotiators working to free Phillips.

His captors have apparently called in backup, and a fleet of pirates with more hostages are on their way.

At the same time, more Navy forces are speeding to the area.

Bianca Slota - WCAX News

Related Stories:

Underhill Awaits Word on Captive Captain

Pirates Capture Vermont Captain

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Man accused of taking school bus on a drunken joy ride

    Man accused of taking school bus on a drunken joy ride

    Sunday, August 31 2014 12:09 AM EDT2014-08-31 04:09:10 GMT
    A Lowell man faces a slew of charges after allegedly stealing a school bus.
    A Lowell man faces a slew of charges after allegedly stealing a school bus.
  • Three hurt in Essex crash

    Three hurt in Essex crash

    Sunday, August 31 2014 12:08 AM EDT2014-08-31 04:08:33 GMT
    A two car accident in Essex Saturday evening.
    A two car accident in Essex Saturday evening.
  • Drug bust in Bristol

    Drug bust in Bristol

    Sunday, August 31 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-08-31 04:07:19 GMT
    Police say David and Cathy Fleming of Bristol, Dameon Williams of Brooklyn New York, and Oleitha Turner of Mount Vernon New York have been arrested.
    Police say David and Cathy Fleming of Bristol, Dameon Williams of Brooklyn New York, and Oleitha Turner of Mount Vernon New York have been arrested.
  • Bike and donut race in Burlington

    Bike and donut race in Burlington

    Saturday, August 30 2014 9:14 PM EDT2014-08-31 01:14:42 GMT
    It's a race for bike riders with a huge appetite. Finally, the kind of race where eating too many donuts is not only okay, but all part of the strategy to win.
    It's a race for bike riders with a huge appetite. Finally, the kind of race where eating too many donuts is not only okay, but all part of the strategy to win.
  • Motorcycle rally rolls through Killington

    Motorcycle rally rolls through Killington

    Saturday, August 30 2014 9:14 PM EDT2014-08-31 01:14:05 GMT
    The Killington Classic motorcycle rally brings in thousands of enthusiasts excited about bikes and gives the local economy a boost.
    The Killington Classic motorcycle rally brings in thousands of enthusiasts excited about bikes and gives the local economy a boost.
  • DJ A-Dog remembered in Burlington

    DJ A-Dog remembered in Burlington

    Saturday, August 30 2014 9:12 PM EDT2014-08-31 01:12:52 GMT
    Skateboarding is usually not permitted in City Hall Park in Burlington – but Saturday was an exception to the rule.
    Skateboarding is usually not permitted in City Hall Park in Burlington – but Saturday was an exception to the rule.
  • Mini Highland games in Quechee

    Mini Highland games in Quechee

    Saturday, August 30 2014 9:12 PM EDT2014-08-31 01:12:06 GMT
    Saturday young campers at the Quechee State Park competed in their own Mini Highland Games.
    Saturday young campers at the Quechee State Park competed in their own Mini Highland Games.
  • Music Festival in Burlington

    Music Festival in Burlington

    Saturday, August 30 2014 9:11 PM EDT2014-08-31 01:11:24 GMT
    Musicians from around the world are making their mark in Vermont this week.
    Musicians from around the world are making their mark in Vermont this week.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.