Friday, 4/10, 9:00 a.m. - Last night U.S. Captain Phillips reportedly jumped overboard from the life boat where Somali pirates were holding him hostage. Adrift in the Indian Ocean after running out of gas, the pirates have called for reinforcements. Meanwhile the FBI has solicited help from General Petraeus to send more warships to the scene. Read the New York Times story here.
Thursday, 4/9, 11:00 a.m. - The piracy saga off the coast of Somalia continues: While the crew of the Maersk Alabama is reportedly safe, its captain, Richard Phillips of Underhill, Vermont, is still being held by the pirates—though he may not be for much longer. According to this report from Reuters, the life boat the pirates commandeered after abandoning the container ship has run out of gas. The four pirates and the captain are apparently adrift on the Indian Ocean. Read more here.
April is the cruelest month, except if you're a Somali pirate. The scourge of the high-seas went on a tear over the weekend, capturing five vessels in one 72-hour spree. And this despite a flotilla of warships from the United States, China, France, and India patrolling the Gulf of Aden, their usual hunting grounds. The bandits have gone further offshore in their small speedboats than the world's navies could have imagined, thanks to improved weather west of the Seychelles. Graeme Gibbon Brooks, managing director of Dryad Maritime Intelligence, told the Huffington Post that the military coalition is going to be "playing a cat-and-mouse game in the next six months." Until this spree, the pirates had been relatively quiet for the first quarter of 2009, with only five reported incidents of hijackings, according to the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Centre. But with improved weather, plenty of booty, and a down market, piracy is looking pretty alright these days.