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Somali Pirates: Can They Be Stopped?

Aired April 11, 2009 - 20:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Suspense on the high seas. The world watches. A captain held for ransom, a careful Catch-22 for the military. And lives on the line.

Somali pirates, can they be stopped?

Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. To our viewers in the United States and around the world, welcome to our special on the Somali pirate crisis.

Tonight, we go beyond the headlines. Why is this happening and what can be done about it?

CNN correspondents are covering this story from strategic locations around the world. Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is monitoring developments in Bahrain. Stan Grant is standing by in Mombasa, Kenya, where the "Maersk Alabama" docked just a few hours ago. And our Susan Candiotti in Massachusetts, where we are getting reaction from family members.

And we have a panel of experts. They are standing by to dig deeper into this story. We have a former FBI negotiator, a former Navy seal and Somali insider who is an expert on the dangerous politics in that region if you could call it Politics.

Several major new developments in this story to tell you about before we get started. We are learning that the tiny lifeboat holding four armed pirates and American sea captain Richard Phillips is now much closer to the Somali Coast than we thought. We've also learned the pirates fired on U.S. sailors when they tried to approach the lifeboat.

Barbara Starr worked in this part of the story in Bahrain for us. Barbara, what have you learned about this?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, what they are telling us, U.S. official who's very familiar with day-to-day, hour- by-hour what's been going on says exactly that, Don. That earlier today, the U.S. Navy launched a small boat from the USS Bainbridge. That war ship that has been standing just to the side, just off from the lifeboat, keeping a very close eye on it.

This Naval party approached the lifeboat, trying to make some communication apparently, possibly conduct reconnaissance of exactly what was going on. The pirates fired upon them not wanting them to get close. And the Navy retreated very quickly, we are told. They didn't want to do anything to endanger Captain Phillips. Don?

LEMON: Barbara, I want you to stand by, because I'm going to talk about an interview that you had with the commander. But just hang on for a little bit because I want to bring our Stan Grant in here. Stan is standing by. He is where the boat has been taken to. The boat that they were originally on. I want to get both of you to talk about this.

Stan, we have heard from some of the guys who were on that boat in a brief conversation that you had with them. Tell us about it -- before we play the conversation, tell us what they said, what they look liked to the press as they got off the boat? Do they look healthy? Were they in high spirits?

STAN GRANT, CNN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don. They did. They looked healthy. They looked in high spirits. They were working on the ship as they brought it in to dock. It's now docked here safely, as you can see behind me.

The crew themselves have now been declared off limits to the media. The ship has been declared a crime scene. The FBI is carrying out its investigations and debriefing the crew members. But before that, we did manage to throw a few questions at them as they came in to dock. Now bearing in mind, they were working, they were standing maybe ten to 15 feet away. We had to yell the questions.

But piecing it together, I was able to get some understanding of what exactly went on in the ship. When the pirates managed to hijack and how the crew members manage to wrested control back. Now as one of the crew members told me, that the pirates ended in the early hours of the morning. They were armed. And in his words, he was scared.

Another crew member told me that they managed to hide out in another part of the ship, a secure part of the ship. And then other crew members indicated there was some form of a struggle. That some of the crew members managed to jump on the pirates. There was a struggle in the engine room. And one of the pirates was stabbed through the hand. But at the moment, all of these questions being explored by the FBI and the crew not allowed to leave.

LEMON: And Stan, I want to get to some of that, what the guys said as they got off the boat just a short time ago. Let's take a listen. And I also want Barbara Starr to weigh in to see what the Pentagon may be saying at this hour about this.


QUESTION: How did you react when you saw them?


QUESTION: You were scared.

How did you get back control of the ship? What did you do?



How did you regain control of the ship?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all went to a secure area.


LEMON: All right. That was some of the guys coming off the ship. Our Stan Grant again standing by.

Stan, so it's hard to hear some of them. And earlier, I saw that you spoke with more members of this crew, and they appeared again to be in good spirit as well.

GRANT: Yes, they did. And they all said that they were keen to get home. One of the men they've been joking that he was looking forward to a steak dinner. Well, I can tell you he didn't get the steak. They were served pizzas on board. And that was before the investigation started as far as the FBI is concerned. But the crew members themselves, Don, will not be able to leave the ship. They have to wait until this investigation is exhausted before they are able to go home.

They also pointed out their concern for Captain Phillips. A couple of the crew members saying that he is a hero and he saved their lives.


LEMON: All right. Stan, hey, we want to bring in our Susan Candiotti who is standing by, and she has been talking to family members. We heard from some of the crew there in Stan's story.

Susan, you have been talking to family members really -- Joe Murphy, the father of Shane Murphy who is now in charge of that ship as it headed toward Mombasa. Tell us what you heard from him.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he has now had a phone call with his son. He said, you know, it's just unbelievable. His son told him, "Dad, what happened here was unbelievable." His father told us that hearing from his son was like as he put it in his words, "getting a thousand Christmas gifts."

And furthermore, he told his son, "Well, son, you'll have a hell of a sea story to tell us about." But he said that his son indicated that the worst part as we can all imagine, the worst part was for him and the rest of the crew to have to leave behind Captain Phillips. Here's what he said about that.


JOE MURPHY, FATHER OF SHANE MURPHY: He said that the crew was very disappointed that they had to leave the captain behind. They realized that by doing so they were following orders and perhaps doing what was best in his case. They are very concerned about his safe return, and I'm sure if asked they would immediately go back on the scene and rescue him if possible.


CANDIOTTI: So Don, he also indicated Captain Murphy did that his son has been told by investigators, and this is according to the company, not to say anything, not to give any details about this. And they said that's understandable because they certainly want to protect the integrity of the negotiations that may be going on, and to protect, of course, the life of Captain Richard Phillips. And everyone feels as though he will be home. That it's a matter of they hope when and not.


LEMON: Hey, Susan, stand by, because I understand that our Barbara Starr had some new information and -- that she got from earlier with Admiral William Gortney, who's a commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

Barbara, what are you hearing from him?

STARR: Well, Admiral Gortney has been dealing with this problem for some time. You know, we came out to Bahrain as all of this unfolded. Bahrain is the headquarters of the Navy's Fifth Fleet. The maritime coalition that has been dealing with piracy off these waters for a couple of years now.

And Admiral Gortney had already been planning to put more Naval power into this immediate area off Somalia, where the "Maersk Alabama" had been hijacked, because things had really step up there.

He along with other military commanders has been advocating for some time, that it's, you know, there's no real military solution to this. How can a bunch of pirate with some Kalashnikov rifles hold the U.S. Navy at bay, when they take hostages? How is this possible? And how are they going be stopped?

What the U.S. military has been calling for is the international cargo shipping industry to take more precautions, to make their ships not able for pirates to get onboard, put barbed wire up, lift those ladders out of the water. Do things to make the ship inaccessible.


LEMON: Barbara, I'm being told by the producers that there's actually the interview that you had with the admiral. We have it now. Let's play it, and then we'll get some reaction to it.


ADM. WILLIAM GORTNEY, COMMANDER, U.S. FIFTH FLEET: Earlier this week, we had two instances of unsuccessful piracy attacks since pirates couldn't get on board because those two ships had put barbed wire on the areas where most likely of approaches for the pirates to get onboard.


LEMON: Barbara?

STARR: Well, you know, that's exactly what he's talking about. That's what the military has been saying. The first line of defense is to make a ship inaccessible. You need, you know, not to be cavalier about it, but you need a ship that can be hijacked. And if they can't be hijacked, they can't been boarded by pirates if the pirates can't get onboard.

This is a piece of water out here, Don, that is four times the size of Texas, hundreds if not thousands of cargo ships moving through these very busy waters all year long. There aren't enough warships on earth to patrol all of this, to escort all of them. So the cargo shipping industry has to do something about this.

But I must also say that military commanders will tell you the ultimate solution is that something has to be done about Somalia. This is a lawless country with no functioning government. No accountability for these pirates, for what they do. No law enforcement capability. And that something really has to be done to start with bringing some stability to the country of Somalia and to the people there so they don't turn to this kind of activity, and that when they do, there is law enforcement accountability.


LEMON: All right. More on that later, Barbara. So we're going to get into that with our panel.

Thanks to Barbara, thanks to Stan, and also to Susan Candiotti.

I want to read this statement. It's coming from the Phillips Family, his wife there. She says, "My family and I would like to thank our neighbors, our community and the nation for the outpouring of support. We have felt the compassion of the world through your concern for Richard. And my husband is a strong man. And he will remain strong for him. We will remain strong for him. We ask that you do the same."

So how does this happen? Why? And how can we stop it? Our panel will weigh in on that. One of them, a ship owner, himself. The victim of pirates.

Also, your questions for our panel -- Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, We will get them on the air for you.


LEMON: All right. So the U.S. Navy locked in a standoff with pirates. How does something like this happen in the 21st century? We're going to look into that question with our panel of experts. We really want to get to the bottom of this, so we have invited some folks here who can help us, and maybe come up with some sort of solution that can be offered to solve this.

They are Chris Voss. He's a former FBI lead international kidnapping negotiator. And Global Studies Group President Harry Humphries, a former NAVY SEAL. Tim Crockett of AKE, an international risk management company. Trains people how to deal with these situations, or how not to become a victim of this situations.

Rutgers University Professor Said Samatar. He's the editor of the Horn of Africa Journal and the author of the book, "Somalia: A Nation in Turmoil." And James Christodoulou of International Shipping Enterprises Corporation involved in a very similar incident and had to pay up money when it came to -- trying to get his things back, his belongings, his boat, right? Actually --


LEMON: Your crew was held captive in the seas here. Thank you all for joining us.

OK, why is this -- we've been hearing about it. And a lot of people want to know does it take this for someone to actually do something about it and to garner this much attention?

I want to start with you Mr. Christodoulou, since you were a victim. You know, it's very close at heart to you. What do you say to that?

CHRISTODOULOU: Well, obviously, it did take this incident more to garner at least American media attention. I can tell you that there were hundreds of attempted hijackings. And I think 40 ships were hijacked in 2008. Over 800 fellow seafarers were hijacked.

So this does what -- this, obviously, is what was needed to serve as a lightning rod. This very tragic event. I'd like to say something, to kind of comment on what the general said.

The ship owners are taking very proactive defensive and evasive measures when we transit those areas. We do have barbed wire, we proceed at maximum speed through that region, we have high pressure hoses. My ship that was hijacked had additional security on board, non-lethal security with very loud, loud speakers to defend against pirates. But all of these measures are delay tactics. They really can't deter a very determined, aggressive pirate with rocket propelled grenades and AK-47s.

LEMON: All right. Let's bring in Tim Crockett here, AKE International Risk Management Company here.

Tim, you trained -- you actually trained me for hostile environment training when it comes to war situations, in a situation where you may find yourself in some danger.

So in this situation, does it appear to you that these guys did the right thing when they were trying to, you know -- when they pretended that the pirates had control of the ship when they actually didn't and they fought back. Right thing to do here?

TIM CROCKETT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AKE: Well, it's difficult to say. It could have gone the other way and obviously we could be dealing with a catastrophe. LEMON: Yes.

CROCKETT: Given the circumstances, they did act in the right way, and the captain himself actually acted extremely courageously, offered himself up to protect his ship and his crew.

LEMON: Said Samatar, the editor of the Horn of Africa Journal and the author of a book called "Somalia: A Nation in Turmoil."

These guys that are out on the sea here -- Americans are trying to understand and many people around the world trying to understand, why. I mean, we know that they need money. But why put other people's lives in jeopardy when it comes to this sort of situation? Why not just go on, take what you need, maybe, go back and sell it, instead of doing this -- ransom money, obviously?

SAID SAMATAR, EDITOR, HORN OF AFRICA JOURNAL: Well, it's my pleasure to be here. But I must say as a caveat, I don't hear you completely. And if you could repeat that question, please.

LEMON: Yes, we'll try to get that fix for you, and then we'll get back to you on that. We'll try to get you audio fix.

Let's bring back in Mr. Christodoulou here. You heard exactly what Tim Crockett said. He said that this is a situation where they acted in the best of their ability and we could have had a catastrophe on the hand.

These guys are holding people here, and it's all about bartering and how much money they can get. Really, that's the answer to why they do it, because they figure that the money on board -- that what's onboard the ship is worth --not the same as the amount of ransom money that they can get.

CHRISTODOULOU: Well, I can tell you, and thankfully, the pirates are approaching this like a business. They are in it for cash not palm oil that I was carrying or crude oil or whatever -- iron ore that so many other ships were carrying, that were transiting the area. So thankfully, they are in it only for the money not to forward some type of political agenda. And that's why they hijack these ships.

LEMON: Yes, let's talk about why -- where they're hijacking these ships, and how the problem could actually may be solved if they take a different route. They don't take different routes usually because it's more expensive. Our Joe Johns explains. I want you to take a look and then we'll comment on it.



JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These dots represent where attacks occurred just last year. A merchant's ship choices for getting to this part of the world are either going around the northern tip of Africa through the Suez Canal or south, around the horn of Africa, which by the way is a much longer, slower and more expensive trip. But nowadays, pirates have demonstrated the capacity to board commercial vessels, hundreds of miles off the coast of Africa. So even if the ship started coming from the south, the result might very well be the same.


LEMON: Mr. Christodoulou, do you agree with that?

CHRISTODOULOU: I do. But I just want to point out that the issue of piracy is undermining global trade, and that's not why they built the Suez Canal over 150 years ago to expedite and make more efficient global trade.

Definitely, we could minimize risk by traveling around the Horn of Africa, by staying farther out at sea. But once again, we are going back to trade routes that were in existence in the mid 1800s. It's 2009. Let's eliminate the crime. And once again use efficient routes. It's undermining global trade. 80 percent of commodities and goods, worldwide, are carried by sea.

LEMON: We're going to go deeper inside this story to try to come up with some sort of a solution, and give you the latest information on exactly what's happening there. These are our guests here. They are experts in all fields, including negotiation. Someone who is actually involved in a very similar incident we have been speaking about.

And we're going to learn more about who these pirates are, and what the motivation is even outside of money. It's hardly a lone incident here that's happening at least when it comes to Americans. A look at the broader picture, coming up.


LEMON: All right, here we go. We're going to tell you about that boat that has been in the Gulf of Aden, and there is a hostage situation going on there. There's also another tugboat that happened today. Pirates that took over that boat in the Gulf of Aden. It's a German flag ship. It was seized off the Coast of Somalia last Sunday. There are also 15 pirate attacks in the region.

In March, more than 40 ships were hijacked in the region during 2008. Pirates got tens of millions of dollars in ransom money. That's just some of the other ones that we are focusing on besides the one that involves this captain -- this American captain here.

Defining pirates are firing on American sailors. That happened today. Should the Obama administration step up its response here? Our senior White House correspondent Ed Henry joins us by phone. We also have Barbara Starr who is standing by in Bahrain. And then we have Stan Grant who is also in the region in Mombasa where that boat is going.

I want to start with Ed Henry. Ed, we are not hearing from the White House. We're hearing from the administration, the secretary of state, but why not the White House? ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, it's interesting, Don. Even here on Saturday, the president we're told by White House aids. He's got a telephone update about the situation. He also had memos passed from his staff so that he can stay abreast of the situation. But it's very clear that what's going on is that the White House is trying to keep the president indirectly involved. Because they don't want him too hands on. They think that will only elevate the situation and give these pirates what they want, which is the attention of the leader of the free world.

And they think, obviously also, that's politically risky, the more the president gets involved if, God forbid, something goes wrong here. The situation becomes more desperate, if it becomes tragic. The more the president is involved, the more he, you know, has at risk here. Politically, as well, frankly. So they're trying to keep him on top of the situation, but they don't want him directly involved.

LEMON: Barbara Starr, I want you to comment on that as our Pentagon correspondent. Is that the sentiment that you're hearing coming from the Pentagon?

STARR: Well, the Pentagon is, you know, not wanting to particularly get militarily involved in some sort of fire fight with a bunch of pirates. They'll do it if they have to, of course. No question about that.

But, you know, I think people might be unaware that there was a real push in the final weeks of the Bush administration that the White House got very deeply involved in with the United Nations, with a number of countries, to pass a resolution at the U.N., to have some sort of international agreement that there would be the use of maritime power, that countries would come together.

There are actually 16 countries now with warships in this region trying to deal with this problem. One of the issues is when they catch these pirates, what do they do with them? They can't just send them back to Somalia. So the Bush administration signed an agreement with Kenya saying that they would turn them over to Kenya for prosecution. But that's been problematic. It hasn't really worked out very well. Very few pirates have been turned over. Hard to get the evidence to make it a legally justifiable case. So it's very tough going out here.

You know, one of your previous guests I thought made an absolutely critical point. These measures that they talk about, to keep pirates from getting on board ships. At best, they are delaying tactics. What Admiral Gortney has told us is if he can have a warship within about four miles of a hijacking attempt and they get a radio call, sometimes they can get there and they do, they are able to deter them if they can get there fast enough. But again, huge piece of water. Thousands of ships moving through here. Not enough warships. Not enough fire power. And what people will tell you is ultimately, it's not the solution.

LEMON: All right. Barbara and Ed Henry stand by. We've heard about the administration. We've heard about the Pentagon. I want to go to Stan Grant now who is in Mombasa, where that ship was taken.

Stan, talk to us about the African government's response when it comes to this. What are they saying about these pirates? Are they saying that they're going to stand with other countries to try to get a hold of this? Or are they not commenting at all?

GRANT: Not a great deal of comment, Don. But, obviously, it is of great concern in this region when you have a state as lawless as Somalia. And bearing in mind that here in Kenya they share the coastline with Somalia. One of your guests was touching on this a bit earlier. But you were talking about a lawless state. A state that has not had a functioning central government now for many years. You've had warlords filling that vacuum and fighting against each other. The rise of this Islamist movement in the south of the country that was able to capture the capital of Mogadishu.

We did see the intervention of Ethiopia. You're talking about responses from African countries. Ethiopia did intervene in Somalia and was able to push back the Islamist and regain control of Mogadishu. But then Ethiopia pulled out and the Islamist rebels came back again and reasserted their control. So the problem stems in Somalia, trying to bring some sense of order there. And it's in that disorder, that chaos, that the pirates are able to operate.

And also, I must point out, that on the ship that is now docked here, was food aide. Desperately needed food aid for the World Food Programme, and it was destined for Somalia.

I was speaking through the country director of the World Food Programme, and he's raising real concerns now that if we continue to see these attacks on the high seas on cargo ships, carrying aid, then simply, the aid will not continue to come, Don.

LEMON: Stan Grant, Barbara Starr, Ed Henry, thank you very much.

How does this happen? Why? And can we stop it? Also, Somali pirates and al Qaeda? Is there a connection? We dig deeper.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right. New developments tonight off the Coast of Somalia. We have learned that the tiny lifeboat holding four armed pirates and American sea captain Richard Phillips is now much closer to the Somali coast than we thought. We've also learned that pirates fired on U.S. sailors when they tried to approach that boat.

And earlier this evening, the Maersk Alabama and its crew arrived safely in Mombasa, Kenya, carrying a load of relief and aid for Africa. The first officer aboard the Maersk is Shane Murphy. He was in charge of the ship when it steamed to Kenya. His father Joe is an instructor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Well, we heard from him just a short time ago. He has been speaking about this and he had more to say especially about the captain who is being held hostage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE MURPHY, FATHER OF FIRST OFFICER SHANE MURPHY: The fact that they chose an American ship was a wake-up call for people here in the United States and around the world. And if there's any residual benefit from it, hopefully, we'll get Captain Philips out alive, it is that something is going to have to be done about this.


LEMON: Bill Evans -- his nephew is a crewman aboard the "Maersk Alabama." He joins us now.

Hello Mr. Evans.


LEMON: Your sentiments are the same as Mr. Murphy?

EVANS: I hope everybody comes out of this all right.

LEMON: Tell us how your family is doing and if you -- are you doing anything special? Are you guys watching and waiting together here?

EVANS: We're answering lots of phone calls and things like that. We're -- we've heard from Colin (ph). We're happy he's okay and the rest of the people are in good shape.

LEMON: As you are sitting, watching these pictures at home, I'm sure, it was just amazing to see, you know, a boat out there with your loved one on it and you really not being able to do much about it. And I'm sure you can understand what the -- what the Murphy family is going through as well, and as well as the Philips family as they are trying to deal with this.

What do you say to the people who are listening, maybe even officials who can do something about this? What do you say to them?

EVANS: Well, I understand there's a specific reference to piracy in our constitution and a remedy for it. So, I have -- I meant to look that up today and I ran out of time.

LEMON: You wanted to get here. But you were thinking we should look that over?


LEMON: What in your estimation would you like -- obviously, I know you want to see it solved. It is an interesting sort of Catch-22 here when it comes to approaching that boat, right? But what would you like to see done, at least for now, in this situation?

EVANS: Well, I think we missed a couple of opportunities already. And I'm -- it looks like maybe the pirates have won and I don't know what we're going to do about that.

LEMON: Why do you say "missed opportunities?" EVANS: Well, when he jumped overboard I'm surprised we didn't have somebody ready all the time to take advantage of a situation like that.

LEMON: Yes. Have you heard from Colin at all?

EVANS: Yes. He called this afternoon.

LEMON: And that conversation?

EVANS: He said don't tell anybody anything.


But said, those were instructions from the FBI, I guess.

LEMON: Can you share with us, without giving away specifics, what that conversation was like?

EVANS: Well, he was in good spirits. And he said he'd be here before too long.

LEMON: All right. Bill Evans, we appreciate it. We're glad that he is OK, and, again, we're wishing the same thing for the captain.

EVANS: We're just wondering why he's not going to get to work the rest of this tour.

LEMON: Thank you.

EVANS: He needs to buy a new tractor. His burned up on the farm.

LEMON: Oh. All right. Thank you, sir. We appreciate it. And we appreciate your good spirits as well. Thank you.

Somali pirates and al-Qaeda. Again, is there a connection? We'll dig deeper.


LEMON: All right. Welcome back to our special investigation, "Somali Pirates: Can They Be Stopped?" As efforts continue to end the standoff in the Indian Ocean, a key question surfaces. What are the pirates thinking?

Let's bring back our panel, these guys who are going to talk to us and try to offer some solutions on this. You see Tim Crockett, he's with AKE International Management Group. And Rutgers University professor Said Samatar, he's the editor of "The Horn of Africa Journal" there. And also, a former FBI international kidnapping negotiator is Chris Voss. They all join us. And then, Mr. Christodoulou who is also involved in a very similar situation as this.

You couldn't hear me before, though, sir, Mr. Samatar, but I want to ask you about -- we're trying to find solutions here. And I want to go into the actual pirates themselves. Is this -- is this a last resort for them? Or is it more so that the ships out there are an easy target, or a combination of both here?

SAID SAMATAR, EDITOR, "HORN OF AFRICA JOURNAL": Well, I think it's a combination of both. And if I may say so, I think we need to understand what the background to this. As you recall, when the central Somali government collapsed about 19 years ago, and our coastal waters were defenseless, international interlopers, fishing trawlers descended on our shores and hauled off our sea life and even much more catastrophic than that is that a warlord made a kind of deal with an alleged mafia that dumped nuclear waste on the Somali -- what was once a pristine Somali Coast.

LEMON: Are you saying that because of that situation -- are saying that these men may be -- feel compelled to do that? How did that change the situation in Somalia when that happened?

SAMATAR: No and I'm by no means justifying what these maritime thugs are doing. They are thugs. And I think I have some ideas as to how to deal with them.

LEMON: And what should we do?

SAMATAR: Well, the first thing you need to do is develop human assets on the ground. Intelligence. Once you have complete understanding of who these pirates are, who their clans are, who their elders are, then what you need to go for is to go and arrest their own clan elders. You see, the Somalis do not understand the western principle of individual gift and individual innocence. They understand the collective punishment.

LEMON: OK. Hang on there, Mr. You bring up a very good point. I want to ask Chris Voss who's a former FBI leader, an international kidnapping negotiator.

Mr. Voss, you hear what Mr. Samatar is saying. He's saying you can go to the ground level and develop some sort of relationship with these people, Intel, if you will, and know their way of life in order to be able to solve this. Is his point right on?

CHRIS VOSS, FORMER FBI INTERNATIONAL KIDNAPPING NEGOTIATIOR: Well, I think that's part of it. I mean, once a problem like this gets started in a culture, kidnapping, kidnapping for ransom, kidnapping on the water, piracy, it's a virus. And it's a lot of easy money. And you have to attack the infrastructure from a number of different directions at the same time. There's no one answer alone that's going to deal with that. And certainly dealing with that on the ground through the social structure, the cultural structure that supports it is definitely a big part of that piece.

LEMON: In your experience, do you think there's enough on the ground, especially when it comes to Intel, enough people there who are trying to understand and get at what the motivations and get at what Mr. Samatar is talking about? Not just the U.S. but internationally?

VOSS: I think there are a lot of people that would like to be. But with a lack of any sort of governmental structure, it's very difficult to go there. Other countries coming in are viewed as intruders. There are issues of international sovereignty which seem ridiculous in Somalia, but the rest of other countries around the world have to respect that unless they work for the UN.

LEMON: James Christodoulou, when you were in the middle of your negotiations, in the middle of your crew being hijacked and held hostage, what did you find about at least if we had any sort of tentacles in that area? If any information from the government paid off for you?

JAMES CHRISTODOULOU, INDUSTRIAL SHIPPING ENTERPRISES CORPORATION: No. In fact, unfortunately, the government and other international or military agencies really didn't assist us at all in our negotiation and our 57-day hostage crisis. So, I really don't know what level of intelligence they have on land.

I do know that as many of your guests on this program and other programs have pointed out, that the way to ultimately end this crisis that's plaguing my industry and threatening the brave men and women who serve in it, is to actually pull the root out of the ground and go to Somalia and deal with the cause there, whether it's with bullets or butter. You know, we have -- the solution lies on land not at sea.

LEMON: And so, they're often -- you're on your own? You work on your own?

CHRISTODOULOU: Not just me. I mean, all previous ship owners before this very unique incident and some of the French incidents and, of course, the Russian vessel that had armaments on board. It's really a private matter between the ship owner and the pirates. This is a very unique situation that's captured so much world and media and government attention.

LEMON: Tim Crockett, you hear them saying that they -- that they were on their own when it came to this. That's why people really hire your organization, private organizations and organizations like yours, is to protect them from these situations. And then once and if it does happen, to offer them some sort of advice about how to get out of it.

TIM CROCKETT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AKE: Yes, that's correct. Anything -- from the ship owners, ship companies, I mean the navies around the world that are contributing to policing this area. It's all defensive. All they can do is prevent the pirates getting on board, train and advise the crew on what to do to cope with the situation and hope they end it in a safe manner.

But really it's not going to address the long-term issues that has plagued not just off the coast of Somalia but other areas in the world.

LEMON: OK. Stand by, guys, because we want to talk about this and try to answer this question that we've been asking throughout this broadcast. Somali pirates and al-Qaeda. We're hearing there's a possible connection. Is there one? We're going to try to figure that one out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Welcome back to our special investigation -- "Somali Pirates: Can They Be Stopped?"

Many al-Qaeda operatives are believed to be operating in Somalia. So, is there a connection between piracy and terrorism? I want to bring our panel back here. I want to bring in Chris Voss, Harry Humphries and Said Samatar to talk about this.

But first, guys, I want to play this. Our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, did some checking on the Somali and al- Qaeda connection. Here's what he found out.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): One of the groups at the heart of the Somali power struggle is al- Shabab with has long ties to al-Qaeda in its Afghan-Pakistan training camps.

ROGER MIDDLETON, TERRORISM EXPERT: Some of the leaders, they seemed to have been trained in those camps and some of them have voiced publicly their desire to be part of a global network including al Qaeda.

ROBERTSON: For their part, al Qaeda leaders took up Somalia and covered a closer alliance with al-Shabab.

(on camera): Until now, the best guesswork is that if al-Shabab is making money out of piracy, it's doing so by extortion, forcing the pirates to pay it off. But what may be ringing alarm bells now is that most of these recent attacks, unlike last year, are off Somalia's southern shores, where al-Shabab is strongest.


LEMON: Said Samatar, you believe that there is an al-Qaeda connection? And you say a very strong one?

SAMATAR: Yes, I believe so. But before I address that, quickly, if I may do so, I would like to correct what one of the panelists has said, namely, that there is no government in that region. In fact, there is a strong government in front land and they have a police and security system there.

LEMON: OK. So, talk to us about the al-Qaeda connection, though.

SAMATAR: OK. The al-Qaeda connection is, of course, obviously there. Very clearly. And, as the panelists have pointed out, is very much allied with al-Qaeda, their leaders. In fact, many of the leaders of al-Shabab have been trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

LEMON: Thank you very much. We have to take a break here. That is just a small part of the al-Qaeda connection. We're going to talk with our guests about that a little bit later on as well. We'll get that subject back for you. And also, we're going to talk about that boat you've been hearing about, that lifeboat where the Maersk captain is being held. It's tiny. We're going to show it to you -- one just like it to see what life is like for him.


LEMON: All right. Welcome back. Let's talk about the possible connection between al-Qaeda and these Somali pirates. I want to bring in Chris Voss, who's a former FBI negotiator.

In your negotiations, at least in the knowledge you have about this, the al-Qaeda connection here, is it a very strong one and is it something that people -- that investigators or the government is looking into here?

VOSS: Sure, they're looking into it. I don't have any direct knowledge of it. Certainly, al-Qaeda would be attracted to the money that's being generated in the region. They need funding. It's a great cash cow for them if they could get their hands on it.

LEMON: But is the only evidence we have here is that they're on the southern coast of Somalia and that there is a very strong al-Qaeda influence on that coast? Is that really the strongest evidence we have?

VOSS: I think that al-Qaeda has been trying to make in-roads in that region for since the beginning of al-Qaeda in the early '90s. So beyond that, I don't know what specific intelligence they have.

LEMON: OK. A former Navy SEAL -- we want to bring you back in -- and if you were -- if you're listening to this conversation, I know that you've been involved in situations like this as a Navy SEAL, having worked, you know, in different parts of the world, Mr. Humphries, what do you say about the possible connection between al-Qaeda and the Somali pirates?

HARRY HUMPHRIES, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Well, I don't think there's any question that there's a connection of some level. Obviously, the income that's being generated from the piracy is certainly going to be attractive to these folks that are being starved financially as a result of our tracing the money philosophy that we've incorporated.

But there's no question they're there. I don't think they're going to go out and risk themselves but they will probably get a revenue, at least a percentage of the revenue that the pirates are bringing back in. It's a no-brainer for them.

LEMON: Harry Humphries, thank you so much. You know, you guys have some information on this, at least when it comes to the al-Qaeda connection, that many people have not been talking about here. But hearing from our Nic Robertson and hearing from you, it is something that is definitely on the radar and should be delved in more deeply, and maybe that is also a way to help solve this problem.

We're going to talk about inside of that little, small lifeboat that this captain is with several pirates in this boat. We're going to take you inside. Our Susan Candiotti is at one. We're going to do it for you live, coming up.


LEMON: All right. Back now to our correspondent Susan Candiotti. She's live in Massachusetts at the maritime academy in Buzzards Bay. She is standing in front of -- as you can see her, see there, the same kind of lifeboat that this captain is being held on.

Susan, give us a look, will you?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Waving a bit because I'm so far away from that first camera there.

We're in the shadow of the training ship Kennedy here at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. This lifeboat is about 28 feet long. It's a little bit bigger than the one hostage Captain Richard Phillips is in.

And now we're going to step inside. I'll do so gingerly because it is, of course, close quarters down here. Turn around toward you. Here you can fit about 32 people. Fewer in him. Remember, he's got -- Phillips and you got the other hostages as well. There are seatbelt straps to keep people in. Low in the boat in case the boat tips over. It helps the boat right itself.

Then, I'll take a quick tour down here. You got hatches on both sides and on either end. And (OFF-MIKE) to show you what that is like. Again, it's a duplicate of the lifeboat on the other. The setup is the same. In these compartments, you've got a supply of food and water, enough to last you 10 days. You got an oar up here in case the engines die. And it is not a comfortable setting. No toilet facilities. You can imagine what it's been like for everyone aboard.

Back to you, Don.

LEMON: Susan Candiotti. And most people thought it was a little open dinghy like when we think of lifeboats, the old-fashioned one. These are new. It is cramped. It's bigger, but it is cramped as well. Thank you, Susan Candiotti.

"Somali Pirates: Can They Be Stopped?" Final thoughts in a moment.


LEMON: All right. Final thoughts about how to stop these pirates. I want to bring our panel back in. I want to start with you, get your final thoughts, Professor Said Samatar. You seem to have -- be much more intimate with the knowledge of the situation than many people who I've spoken to and many people on our panel here, frankly. Give us the solution.

SAMATAR: I think a number of the panelists suggested the ultimate solution will come when that unfortunate country is reconstructed and made into a nation that is responsible to guard its maritime boundaries.

LEMON: Chris Voss? Intelligence , is that -- is that the key?

VOSS: Well, it's part of it. And I think the most dangerous negotiation is the one that you don't know that you're in. The negotiation can be used as a weapon to help find solutions in this environment, slow the pirates down.

LEMON: Harry Humphries?

HUMPHRIES: Look to the shore. Stabilize the government, attack when you can in a manner that is specific to the leadership of the pirates. And those at sea must utilize the forces at sea. Go with convoy. Go with convoy support from the CTF-151.

LEMON: And Tim Crockett, you always talk to us about prevention.

CROCKETT: Yes. I'd say preparing the crew, preparing the ship, ensuring that the navies that are patrolling the area are equipped to deal with the situations as they arise. And, of course, help bolster and put in some sort of functioning government there.

LEMON: James Christodoulou, we have seconds left, your intimate knowledge of this. What's your solution?

CHRISTODOULOU: Everybody has already given their solution. They're all right. It's got to be a multinational, multi-pronged approach. But as a member of the seafaring community, I just want to say how proud I am of Captain Phillips, the crew of the Alabama and every seafarer around the world, who puts up with this type of danger every single day. It's part of their life.

LEMON: Thank you all. I'm Don Lemon at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. The news continues here on CNN.