Maersk Alabama Captain to Return Home

April 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The sea captain who was held hostage by Somali pirates is due to fly home to the U.S. today. His crewmates from the Maersk Alabama arrived overnight at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, D.C. Early Thursday morning at Andrews Air Force Base, several dozen family members crowded onto a wet tarmac anxious for the first glimpse of their loved ones.

The crew will soon be reunited with their Captain Richard Phillips who was held hostage by pirates for five grueling days before a daring navy rescue.

Phillips has been onboard the U.S.S. Bainbridge, which arrived in Kenya Thursday morning.

He's expected to make his way back to the U.S. sometime Thursday.

"Let me underscore this point: the United States does not make concessions or ransom payments to pirates," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Part of the answer in combating piracy, experts contend, should come from the shipping companies who risk the journey. They suggest they could prevent piracy by traveling closer together and further out. Experts also say, the U.S. and other nations should concentrate on the pirates' mother ships which tow the smaller speed boats the pirates travel in once they're out to sea.

"These little boats can't operate hundreds of miles out to sea by themselves. They depend on that mother ship," said Brian Jenkins, Senior Advisor to the Rand Corporation.

The number of American vessels in the waters off Africa are fewer than five-percent of the 30,000 ships that pass through the corridor.

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