Showdown Looms: Pirate Ships Head to Hijacking Site
Previously-captured boats carry 54 international hostages
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 10, 2009 8:44 AM CDT
Lea Coggio, the sister-in-law of Captain Richard Phillips, talks to the media at Philips home Underhill, Vt., Thursday, April 9, 2009.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – As bandits hold a US captain on a lifeboat in the Indian Ocean, their pirate colleagues are rushing to their aid with an international gallery of hostages, the AP reports. The bandits apparently fear being shot or arrested if they hand over the captain and are hoping to get support from their colleagues, who are using some 54 Russian, German, Filipino and other hostages as human shields.

Four ships earlier seized by pirates are reportedly headed toward the scene off Somalia. “All we need, first, is a safe route to escape with the captain, and then (negotiate) ransom later,” a pirate told the AP. Meanwhile, more US warships are on their way. “We want to ensure that we have all the capability that might be needed over the course of the coming days,” said Central Command chief David Petraeus.