Thanh Nguyen

Reading

Posted on: April 9, 2009

Dear TN,

Reading is the best way to build up your vocabulary, your reading and writing skills.  I provide  you some articles related to pirates on the Indian sea.

(Highlight or underline words that you don’t understand wells their meanings. I would explain those words to you.)

Somali minister: pirates won’t win

standoff

hình ảnh của các tên cướp biển:

http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Somali-Pirates/ss/events/wl/093008somaliapirates#photoViewer=/090409/481/9c68c71e3edd4f24bca20341cf1a3d20

NAIROBI, Kenya – Somalia’s foreign minister has told The Associated Press that pirates are “playing with fire” and “cannot win” against American forces in a cargo ship hostage standoff.

Somali Foreign Minister Mohamed Omaar said Thursday “there is no way” the pirates can win. The pirates took Capt. Richard Phillips as a hostage as they escaped the Maersk Alabama into a lifeboat Wednesday.

Officials have said the lifeboat is out of fuel and being monitored by U.S. ships and aircraft.

“The pirates are playing with fire and have got themselves into a situation where they have to extricate themselves because there is no way they can win,” Omaar said.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A U.S. destroyer kept watch Thursday on a drifting lifeboat where Somali pirates were holding an American ship captain hostage, a day after bandits hijacked a U.S.-flagged vessel for several hours before 20 crew members overpowered them.

The pirates took Capt. Richard Phillips as a hostage as they escaped the Maersk Alabama into a lifeboat in the first such attack on American sailors in around 200 years. Negotiations were believed to be under way, a relative of the captain said, but it was not clear who was conducting them.

Kevin Speers, a spokesman for the ship company Maersk, said the pirates have made no demands yet to the company. He said the safe return of the abducted captain is now its top priority.

The USS Bainbridge had arrived off the Horn of Africa near where the pirates were floating near the Maersk, he said.

“It’s on the scene at this point,” Speers said of the Bainbridge, adding that the lifeboat holding the pirates and the captain is out of fuel.

“The boat is dead in the water,” he told AP Radio. “It’s floating near the Alabama. It’s my understanding that it’s floating freely.”

The U.S. Navy has sent up P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft and has video footage of the scene.

One senior Pentagon official, speaking on grounds of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, described the incident now as a “somewhat of a standoff.”

Though officials declined to say how close the Bainbridge is to the site, one official said of the pirates: “They can see it with their eyes.” He spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of talking about a military operation in progress.

The Bainbridge was among several U.S. ships that had been patrolling in the region when the 17,000-ton U.S.-flagged cargo ship and its 20 crew were captured Wednesday.

Phillips’ family was gathered at his Vermont farmhouse, anxiously watching news reports and taking telephone calls from the U.S. State Department to learn if he would be freed.

“We are on pins and needles,” said Gina Coggio, 29, half-sister of Phillips’ wife, Andrea, as she stood on the porch of his one-story house Wednesday in a light snow. “I know the crew has been in touch with their own family members, and we’re hoping we’ll hear from Richard soon.”

Phillips surrendered himself to the pirates to secure the safety of the crew, Coggio said.

“What I understand is that he offered himself as the hostage,” she said. “That is what he would do. It’s just who he is and his response as a captain.”

Coggio said she believed there were negotiations under way, although she didn’t specify between whom.

With one warship nearby and more on the way, piracy expert Roger Middleton from London-based think tank Chatham House said the pirates were facing difficult choices.

“The pirates are in a very, very tight corner,” Middleton said. “They’ve got only one guy, they’ve got nowhere to hide him, they’ve got no way to defend themselves effectively against the military who are on the way and they are hundreds of miles from Somalia.”

The pirates would probably try to get to a mothership, he said, one of the larger vessels that tow the pirates’ speedboats out to sea and resupply them as they lie in wait for prey. But they also would be aware that if they try to take Phillips to Somalia, they might be intercepted. And if they hand him over, they would almost certainly be arrested.

Other analysts say the U.S. will be reluctant to use force as long as one of its citizens remains hostage. French commandos, for example, have mounted two military operations against pirates once the ransom had been paid and its citizens were safe.

The Maersk Alabama, en route to neighboring Kenya and loaded with relief aid, was attacked about 380 miles (610 kilometers) east of the Somali capital of Mogadishu. It was the sixth vessel seized in a week.

Many of the pirates have shifted their operations down the Somali coastline from the Gulf of Aden to escape naval warship patrols, which had some success in preventing attacks last year.

International attention focused on Somali pirates last year after the audacious hijackings of an arms shipment and a Saudi oil supertanker. Currently warships from more than a dozen nations are patrolling off the Somali coast but analysts say the multimillion-dollar ransoms paid out by companies ensure piracy in war-ravaged, impoverished Somalia will not disappear.

The attacks often beg the question of why ship owners do not arm their crew to fend off attacks. Much of the problem lies with the cargo. The Saudi supertanker, for example, was loaded with 2 million barrels of oil. The vapor from that cargo was highly flammable; a spark from the firing of a gun could cause an explosion.

There is also the problem of keeping the pirates off the ships — once they’re on board, they will very likely fight back and people will die.

Pirates travel in open skiffs with outboard engines, working with larger ships that tow them far out to sea. They use satellite navigational and communications equipment, and have an intimate knowledge of local waters, clambering aboard commercial vessels with ladders and grappling hooks.

Any blip on an unwary ship’s radar screens, alerting the crew to nearby vessels, is likely to be mistaken for fishing trawlers or any number of smaller, non-threatening ships that take to the seas every day.

It helps that the pirates’ prey are usually massive, slow-moving ships. By the time anyone notices, pirates will have grappled their way onto the ship, brandishing AK-47s.

___

Associated Press writers Pauline Jelinek in Washington, Katharine Houreld in Nairobi, Kenya and John Curran in Underhill, Vt., contributed to this report.

———————————————–

Hijacked ship captain’s family holds

tense vigil

By JOHN CURRAN, Associated Press Writer John Curran, Associated Press Writer

UNDERHILL, Vt. – The family of hijacked ship captain Richard Phillips gathered in his Vermont farmhouse, anxiously watching news reports and taking telephone calls from the U.S. State Department to learn if he would be freed by Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa.

“We are on pins and needles,” said Gina Coggio, 29, half-sister of Phillips’ wife, Andrea, as she stood on the porch of his one-story house on Wednesday in a light snow. “I know the crew has been in touch with their own family members, and we’re hoping we’ll hear from Richard soon.”

Phillips, 55, was taken hostage Wednesday after his unarmed U.S. crew wrested control of the Maersk Alabama from the pirates and sent them fleeing to a lifeboat — with Phillips as their bargaining chip.

Phillips surrendered himself to the pirates to secure the safety of the crew, according to Coggio.

“What I understand is that he offered himself as the hostage,” she said. “That is what he would do. It’s just who he is and his response as a captain.”

Phillips and the pirates on the lifeboat have received food and water from the ship, Coggio said on the CBS “Early Show.”

“It sounds like he’s being Richard, from what we’ve been hearing … He’s probably friends with the guys on the boat,” she told CBS.

A U.S. warship was on the scene a few hours before dawn and officials were waiting to see what happened when the sun came up as crew members negotiated with the pirates for the captain’s return.

Coggio also said she believed there were negotiations under way, although she didn’t specify say between whom.

Phillips, an avid skier and father of two college-age children, was described by his sister-in-law and neighbors as a man who spent months at sea but was deeply involved in his family’s life when he was home in this rural community (pop. 3,080), located about 18 miles east of Burlington, at the foot of Mount Mansfield, Vermont‘s highest peak.

“He’s always at sea, so we don’t get to see him much,” said Terry Aiken, 66, who lives across River Road from the Phillipses. “But you see him being a husband at home when he’s here,” said Aiken, who earlier in the day had offered his family’s support to Andrea Phillips, 51, who works as a nurse at a Burlington hospital.

“Oh, I’m just sick to death about it,” said Jackie Stoner, 39, who lives down the road. “They’re wonderful people, and I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”

Coggio described Phillips as an outgoing man known for his storytelling.

“Andrea said before, ‘If the Somalis there speak English, he’ll be having them laughing at some kind of story,'” Coggio said.

Earlier Wednesday, Mrs. Phillips said her husband left home at the end of March and joined the ship last week.

“I knew exactly where he was,” she said. “I just got an e-mail from him and knew he was heading into Mombasa (a city on the coast of Kenya). He had even made the comment that pirate activity was picking up.”

She said she always worried about reports of pirates.

“I always hoped it wasn’t going to happen to us,” she said.

Asked if the family had a message for his captors, Coggio said: “Let him go. Let him come home. Let him go. We want Richard back.”

FBI assisting in efforts to rescue US

ship captain

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy summoned the FBI in an atmosphere of crisis Thursday for advice on how to rescue a cargo ship captain held hostage in the Indian Ocean by pirates who seized his vessel off the coast of Somalia.

At the same time, the shipping company Maersk demanded that Capt. Richard Phillips be returned and called his safety its No. 1 priority. The Obama administration, for its part, weighed options in an incident at sea that dramatized the limits of U.S. military power in international cops-and-robbers scenarios.

At the FBI, spokesman Richard Kolko described the bureau’s hostage negotiating team as “fully engaged” with the military in strategizing ways to retrieve the ship’s captain and secure the Maersk Alabama and its roughly 20-person U.S. crew.

The FBI was summoned as the Pentagon substantially stepped up its monitoring of the hostage standoff, sending in P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft and other equipment and securing video footage of the scene.

Defense Department officials would not say Thursday morning just how close the USS Bainbridge was to a small lifeboat. A Pentagon official said the lifeboat is not tethered to the cargo ship and “it’s drifting.”

But one official, speaking on grounds of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the pirates “could see it with their eyes.” Another official said there were several other vessels in the vicinity, but it was unclear whether any were the so-called “mother ship” that pirates use to drop them at hijacking sites.

The pirates were still holding the 55-year-old Phillips, from Underhill, Vt., after the American crew retook the ship Wednesday and the hostage-takers fled into the lifeboat. Hostage negotiators and military officials have been working around the clock to free Phillips.

In his statement, Kolko said: “FBI negotiators stationed at Quantico (Va.) have been called by the Navy to assist with negotiations with the Somali pirates and are fully engaged in this matter.”

In Norfolk, Va., home of the shipping company, spokesman Kevin Speers told reporters early Thursday that “the most recent contact” that Maersk had with the ship indicated that Phillips remained in the hands of the pirates.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking to reporters at the outset of a meeting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and their Australian counterparts, said: “We’re watching it very closely. Apparently, the lifeboat has run out of gas.”

Speers said the company is “grateful” for the assistance of the government and the military and said it is doing all it can to cooperate.

The ship-taking presented Barack Obama with a tough new challenge just as he returned from his first European tour as president.

“We’re deeply concerned and we’re following it very closely,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said. “More generally, the world must come together to end the scourge of piracy.”

The pirate-hostage drama was the first of its kind in modern history involving a U.S. crew.

“We have watched with alarm the increasing threat of piracy,” said Denis McDonough, a senior foreign policy adviser at the White House. “The administration has an intense interest in the security of navigation.”

The Bainbridge was among several U.S. ships, including the cruiser USS Gettysburg, that had been patrolling in the region. But they were about 345 miles and several hours away when the Maersk Alabama was seized, officials said.

The Obama administration has so far done no better than its predecessor to thwart the growing threat of piracy. Since January, pirates have staged 66 attacks, and they are still holding 14 ships and 260 crew members as hostages, according to the International Maritime Bureau, a watchdog group based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

There is too much area to cover and too many commercial vessels to protect for full-time patrols or escorts. U.S. legal authority is limited, even in the case of American hostages and a cargo of donated American food. And the pirates, emboldened by fat ransoms, have little reason to fear being caught.

“The military component here is always going to be marginal,” said Peter Chalk, an expert on maritime national security at the private Rand Corp.

According to the Navy, it would take 61 ships to control the shipping route in the Gulf of Aden, which is just a fraction of the 1.1 million square miles where the pirates have operated. A U.S.-backed international anti-piracy coalition currently has 12 to 16 ships patrolling the region at any one time.

Along the Somali coastline, an area roughly as long as the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, pirate crews have successfully held commercial ships hostage for days or weeks until they are ransomed. In the past week, pressured by naval actions off Somalia, the pirates have shifted their operations farther out into the Indian Ocean, expanding the crisis.

___

Associated Press Military Writer Anne Gearan contributed to this report.

(This version CORRECTS INSERTS new 5th graf to UPDATE with Pentagon comment on status of lifeboat; SUBS 7th graf to correct hometown of ship captain.)

Coi Phim (dài 1 phút 50 giây ) ở đây thuyền chở hàng bị cướp biển chận lại bắt cóc thuyền trưởng

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_piracy

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