Crew: Pirates “Very Scary” and “Meant Business”

041509 KENYA PIRACY
AP

The crew that came face to face with Somali pirates last week said the high seas thugs were "very scary" and "meant business."

Two crew members from the Maersk Alabama detailed the terrifying ordeal and told ABC's "Good Morning America" in their first interview since the hijacking that the pirates had "so many opportunities" to escape.

"I gave these guys 100 chances to take what they wanted and go," said Shane Murphy, the ship's second in command. "People ask did they get what they deserve. Human life is human life, but these people had so many opportunities."

"At the last second, they changed on us," he said.

Murphy and third mate Colin Wright said the pirates had a "million chances" to escape with their lives but "got greedy" when they took the ship's captain, Richard Phillips, hostage.  

"They meant business, very scary," said Wright, recalling the moments when Phillips was taken from the ship. "I was told that the color went from my face, and I'm sure it did." 

During the scuffle with the pirates aboard the U.S. cargo ship, the crew was able to capture one of the pirates and tried to make an exchange for the captain.

"That was something that didn't go as planned," said Murphy, who noted that the pirates backed out of the deal at the last minute. "You have to realize that was after a 13-hour ordeal. There was physical exhaustion, mental exhaustion." 

The five-day standoff finally ended when Navy Seals picked off three pirates holding Phillips hostage on an enclosed lifeboat -- but not knowning the captian's condition for days on end was excruciating.

"It was terrible," Wright said. "We wanted our captain back and didn't feel right until we had our captain." 

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