In a developing story coming from the Gulf of Aden, an American-owned tug has been hijacked by Somali pirates. The tug was manned by 16 crew and sailing under the Italian flag. It was towing two barges at the time of the hijacking – approximately 0800 GMT. At this time, it is unclear as to the exact location the tug was seized and the name of the tug. More to come as this story develops.
Associated Press – Seafarers official: Pirates hijack US tugboat
Meanwhile, Somali pirates have been unsuccessful in sending reinforcments to the area of the lifeboat holding the Maersk Alabama, Capt. Richard Phillips.
The Nairobi-based diplomat, who receives regular briefings on the situation, said the four pirates holding Capt. Richard Phillips in a lifeboat under the close watch of U.S. warships some 380 miles off shore had tried to summon other pirates from the Somali mainland.
The Somali told The Associated Press that pirates had set out in four commandeered ships with hostages from a variety of nations including the Philippines, Russia and Germany. The diplomat told the AP that large pirate “motherships” and skiffs were heading in the direction of the lifeboat.
A second Somali man who said he had spoken by satellite phone to a pirate piloting a seized German freighter told the AP by phone Saturday that the pirate captain had reported being blocked by U.S. forces and was returning Saturday to the pirate stronghold of Harardhere.