Captain of American ship rescued from pirates - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Captain of American ship rescued from pirates

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) - The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet says an American ship captain is resting comfortably on a U.S. warship after receiving a medical exam following his release from captivity.

Capt. Richard Phillips was released at 7:19 p.m. in an operation that killed three of the four pirates holding him. He was first taken aboard the Norfolk-based USS Bainbridge and then flow to the San Diego-based USS Boxer for the medial exam, 5th Fleet spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen said.

Christensen said Phillips was now "resting comfortably." The USS Boxer was in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia, Christensen said.

President Barack Obama says the captain who survived capture by Somali pirates has courage that is "a model for all Americans."

President Obama says he's pleased that Captain Phillips has been rescued and is on board a Navy ship. The President says Phillips' safety was his main concern after being held hostage aboard a lifeboat.

President Obama says he is proud of the U.S. military and other agencies that worked to free Phillips. The president says the United States needs help from other countries to deal with the threat of piracy and to hold pirates accountable.

The head of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command is warning that the successful rescue of the American captain could escalate violence in that part of the world.

In rescuing the captain of the American ship Maersk Alabama, Navy SEALs killed three of the four pirates who had been holding Captain Phillips in a lifeboat. All were shot by snipers aboard the USS Bainbridge.

Navy Vice Admiral Bill Gortney said at a news conference Sunday that the rescue ending in the pirates' deaths will likely have a ripple effect.

While piracy is common off the coast of Somalia, crews have seldom been harmed.

In Gortney's words, "This could escalate violence in this part of the world, no question about it."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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