The Somali Pirate Crisis is the story of our generation! Virtually every major paper has big stories on the new American sailor heroes battling the buccaneers. Only the most interesting parts, below:
- The satellite phone on board the hijacked vessel [Pic above, via AP] is now the most-called telephone on the high seas. First the AP and CNN called it yesterday and hey, somebody actually picked up, and next thing you know the sailors didn't have time to do anything except answer media phone calls. It's only been one day and they're already done with talking to reporters: "Hours earlier, a person identifying himself as a crew member answering the ship's satellite phone said, 'We're still in trouble,' and referred questions to the ship's owner."
- The crew is one of many talents! Take the ship's second-in-command, Shane Murphy. His father teaches a course in anti-piracy tactics. Handy! He's also a thespian:
His mother said Murphy took a break from his studies a few years back and auditioned for a bit part in "Thirteen Days," a film about the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 that starred Kevin Costner.
Murphy landed a role as a Navy officer, but the camera caught only his hand and elbow, so he persuaded the director to recast him as a ship's radio operator. He has no lines in the film but appears in another scene, frantically tapping out a Morse code message
Some intern is doubtless screening the movie right now. Also, according to this mother, "We have a nickname for Shane — 'Shanbo,' like Rambo,." I'll say!
- As is the custom these days, these pirates have their own spokesperson: "In Haradheere port, a pirate stronghold, an associate of the gang said the gunmen 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." Then he added, "Off the record, the captain is a total diva."
- And what about that captain, Richard Phillips, the last remaining hostage? He reportedly volunteered to be the sole hostage. The crew overpowered the pirates and took one of them hostage, then set up a deal to trade the captured pirate for the captain; but the pirates didn't hold up their side of the deal. That's where we stand now.
- One fun fact not mentioned in today's coverage (but pointed out to us by a reader more familiar with the U.S. Naval history) is that the USS Bainbridge, the Navy ship now on the scene, is named after a William Bainbridge, who's accomplishments in the U.S. Navy around the turn of the 19th century included being the first captain to surrender an American ship to the enemy and, yes, being captured by pirates. According to a history of the USS Constitution, which Bainbridge once commanded, called A Most Fortunate Ship:
Also, the following Youtube clip is now the default representation of this situation, on the internet: