In December of 2008, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution that allows cooperating member states to enter Somali territorial waters and use "all necessary means" to fight piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. According to the International Maritime Organization, that includes "deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, as well as seizing and disposing of boats, vessels, arms, and related equipment used for piracy ... in accordance with relevant international law."
But Captain Bushy says that limits actions to vessels caught in the act of piracy, and he asserts that the international community has to go further.
"We have to give these warships out on the high seas a lot more latitude and ability to challenge any vessel they suspect of being a pirate vessel – stop them, search them, just like we do with drug interdiction patrols in the Caribbean with Coast Guard boats," he says.
Meanwhile, there are conflicting reports about the status of negotiations for the release of Capt. Phillips. He's been in a lifeboat adrift in international waters held hostage by four pirates. He reportedly agreed to get in the lifeboat in exchange for the safety of the crew of his freighter, the Maersk Alabama. The ship was carrying food aid to Kenya where it arrived today guarded by US Navy Seals.
Some international wire services are now reporting the pirates are demanding a $2 million dollar ransom in exchange for Phillips's release and the pirates' safe passage to the mainland, despite the fact the lifeboat is adrift and flanked by the destroyer USS Bainbridge and other US Navy warships. But an international environmental organization called Ecoterra International says in a statement that relatives of the four Somali hijackers, along with a group of Somali elders, are traveling to the coastal area nearby determined to "solve the problem peacefully ... without any guns or ransom."