Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Somali pirates seize ship with 21 Americans onboard
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NAIROBI (Reuters) – Somali pirates seized a Danish-owned, U.S.-operated container ship on Wednesday with 21 American crew on board in the latest of a sharp rise in attacks off the Horn of Africa nation, a maritime group said.
Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Program said the 17,000 ton vessel was hijacked in the Indian Ocean 400 miles off the Somali capital Mogadishu.
He said all the crew were believed to be safe, and that the vessel had been tentatively identified as the Maersk Alabama.
Crew Retakes Ship; Pirates have Captain
US crew members have retaken their hijacked ship but their captain is still being held by Somali pirates on a lifeboat, reports say.
Pentagon sources and relatives of the Maersk Alabama's 20 crew were earlier quoted as saying the ship was back under control after a struggle.
But later reports emerged that the captain was still in the hands of the hijackers, adrift in the lifeboat.
USS Bainbridge Now on Scene
WASHINGTON (AP) — The owner of the Maersk Alabama, the American cargo ship held by Somali pirates, says a U.S. Navy warship has arrived off the coast of Somalia.