By the WSJ
gCaptain called the Maersk Alabama at 1800 UTC and talked with the mate on watch. He answered “We are still in an emergency situation and can not talk at this moment.”
The Maersk Alabama’s Chief Mate is the son of the famous Mass Maritime professor Joe Murphy, author of the popular maritime license study guides know in the industry as “The Murphy Books“.
UPDATE an interview with Capt Joe has been posted HERE. Notes from the interview:
- She is an unarmed merchant ship on a commercial run.
- Out ran pirates for 3 to 5 hours
- Substantial gun fire involved.
- The vessel was also attacked on Monday.
- Maersk is handling the situation out of their emergency operations office in Norfolk Virginia.
- We will be updating this post as new information is available.
- Capt Murphy (father of the Chief Mate) is an expert in Maritime Security and teaches the class at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
- Level of violence and number of attacks are rapidly increasing.
The vessel is crewed by Master Mates & Pilots and the Seafarers International Unions. The crew has undergone training at MITAGS which would explain their ability to retake the vessel. Our friends at The Maritime Executive talked with MITAGS which declined to comment saying that security training of the crew is administered at the Military Sealift Command’s training facilities.
UPDATE: Most of crew free, but Captain still held hostage:
The American crew of a hijacked U.S.-flagged ship retook control of the vessel from Somali pirates Wednesday but the captain was still being held hostage, according to Pentagon officials and a member of the crew.
The crew member told The Associated Press that the 20-member crew had managed to seize one pirate and then successfully negotiate their own release.
The man, who picked up the ship’s satellite phone but did not identify himself, told the AP in a brief conversation that the crew had retaken control of the ship and the pirates were in a lifeboat. But the man also said that they were holding the ship’s captain hostage.
This report (via Eaglespeak) of the Captain is unconfirmed by gCaptain but would explain our recent call with the vessel.
UPDATE: New Video from Captain Joe Murphy:
2/m holds phone interview with CNN:
Ken Quinn told CNN in a live interview after the cable news network called the boat. “We had one of their hostages, we had a pirate. We took him for 12 hours. We tied him up. We returned him. But they didn’t return the captain,” Quinn said. The captain was on a lifeboat with the pirates, Quinn said. “Right now we are trying to offer them whatever we can, food. It’s not working too good,” Quinn said. He said the crew was communicating with the captain by radio.
We will be updating this post as new information is available.
Maersk Alabama – Vessel Information
- IMO number : 9164263
- Name of ship : MAERSK ALABAMA
- Call Sign : WDB9985
- Gross tonnage : 14120
- Type of ship : Container Ship
- Year of build : 1998
- Flag : U.S.A.
- Status of ship : In Service
- Last update : 2006-11-20
- Classification: American Bureau of Shipping
- Insurer: Standard P&I Club per Charles Taylor & Co
- MAERSK ALABAMA Date Of Record: 2004-11-30 Flag: USA
- ALVA MAERSK Date Of Record: 2000-05-12 Flag: Denmark
- Maersk Alabama’s Link To The US Navy’s Maritime Security Program
- Maersk Alabama Crew in Tanzania
- Global Security – MAersk A-Class
- EagleSpeak on Piracy
That is all the news for today. We will be sure to call the vessel again, but only once we know the situation is stable. Stay tuned