Video: Pirate hostages ‘can’t give up’

  1. Closed captioning of: Pirate hostages ‘can’t give up’

    >>> the latest on the british couple held hostage by somali pirates . they've been brought ashore in somalia. they reduced their initial ransom demands of $7 million, but the british government insists it will pay no ransom. earlier today we talked with a man held by and dramatically rescued from somali pirates in april. here's captain richard phillips in his own words.

    >> they are pirates. they don't care about your life. they don't really care too much about their life. so for you to be -- for you to be in their hands and being a hostage is truly danger at any time. i'm sure it's very scary, as it was for me. they'll do at times what they did with me, blindfold them. they'll have a gun less than an arm'length away in the event they're attacked or under eminent attack. they will take a life if they're attacked. they don't care about the hostages. the normal routine is three or four months negotiations, and that's a terrible time with little water, little or no food, terrible conditions, hygiene, food. it's a tough time. basically you just can't give up. you have to try and maintain your dignity, even though you're a hostage, and try to get through it and take it day by day. and just maintain your strength.

    >> part of our conversation today with captain richard phillips .

    >>> last night on this broadcast

updated 10/31/2009 6:13:07 PM ET 2009-10-31T22:13:07

Somali pirates who are demanding $7 million in ransom for a British sailing couple said Saturday that boats from other countries are plundering Somalia's fish-rich waters.

Ahmed Gadaf, who described himself as a spokesman for the pirates, said Western fishing vessels "harass" local fishermen and destroy their nets. Gadaf spoke to The Associated Press by satellite phone.

Gadaf says the British couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, are safe and will not be harmed.

The British government on Saturday reiterated its refusal to ransom the pair, saying in a statement that officials would not make any "substantive concessions to hostage-takers, and that includes the payment of ransom."

The Chandlers were headed to Tanzania in their boat, the Lynn Rival, when a distress signal was sent Oct. 23. The British navy found their empty yacht on Thursday, and both have been in sporadic contact with the British media since.

Illegal fishing off the coast of Somalia stirs strong passions in the country. The country's prime minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, said in a speech Wednesday that many countries are fishing illegally in Somali waters and have pushed formerly profitable Somali fishermen into the pirate trade.

He also said during Wednesday's appearance at London-based Chatham House think tank that many pirates are former fishermen "responding to the loss and disappearance of their livelihoods."

Helene Bours, an expert on fisheries in Africa who works as a consultant for non-governmental organizations in Africa and Europe, said she was skeptical that international overfishing in Somalia had a significant effect on the rise of piracy.

"The extent to which the piracy business has developed is way beyond a few fishermen turning (into) pirates," she said.

Bours most international ships operated far from the Somali coast in order to bring in deep-sea fish, and would not be competing with smaller Somali fishing boats working closer to shore. She cautioned however, that the lack of reliable information from the chaotic country made any assessment unreliable.

Sharmarke said he was aware of extensive foreign fishing off Somalia's coast.

"I shall not name names, but suffice to say many countries are fishing illegally in Somali waters," he said. "We estimate that the value of the fish being taken from our waters is perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars."

Pirate attacks have increased the last several weeks after the recent end of the monsoon season. An international armada is patrolling the region to try to stop the attacks.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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