Maersk confirms vessel hijack: UPDATE
The 20 US crewmen of the Maersk Alabama, which was briefly hijacked by pirates off Somalia yesterday, were able to retake the vessel although the captain of the ship remains a hostage.
The CNN television network reported that the captain was being held in a lifeboat a short distance away from the Maersk Alabama, and that a US Navy warship, the USS Bainbridge, had now arrived on the scene.
The Reuters news agency states that the ship’s captain, Richard Phillips, persuaded the pirates to evacuate the freighter and get into a 28-foot lifeboat. At that point, crew members overpowered one of the pirates and a failed attempt at a hostage swap then ensued.
The Maersk Alabama is carrying food aid for Somalia and Uganda from Djibouti to Mombasa. This incident represents the first time that Somalian pirates have captured US citizens.