US Operated Maersk Alabama Piracy Incident

Mike Schuler
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April 8, 2009

Maersk Alabama, formerly known as the Alva Maersk, was hijacked Wed. with a crew of 20 Americans

Developing story from the Horn of Africa:

An unconfirmed report from the AP is saying that the Captain of the vessel is still being held hostage: According to the Associated Press:

A crew member on the vessel hijacked by pirates is telling The Associated Press that the ship’s captain is still being held hostage. The American says negotiations are under way for his release.

The AP called the ship’s satellite phone. The man who answered it said the 20-member crew had been taken hostage but managed to seize one pirate and then successfully negotiate their own release.

He says the crew has retaken control of the ship and the pirates are now in a lifeboat. But the man also says that they are holding the ship’s captain hostage in the vessel.

Confirmed report from CNN:

Crew members of a U.S.-flagged ship have regained control of the vessel from pirates who seized it, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

Pirates took the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama early Wednesday.

The crew is believed to be safe, and one pirate is in custody, the official said. It’s unclear whether other pirates remain on board the ship or whether they have fled, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

John Reinhart, CEO and president of Norfolk, Virginia-based Maersk Line Ltd., which owns the ship, declined to confirm reports that the crew had regained control of the vessel.

“We had one communications earlier today from the crew, we were told the crew was safe,” Reinhart said.

The vessel, carrying 20 American crew members, was en route to Mombasa, Kenya, when it was attacked about 500 kilometers (310 miles) off Somalia’s coast, according to a statement from Maersk Line Ltd.

The hijacking was the sixth over the past week.

The ship was attacked about 7:30 a.m. when the nearest U.S. Navy warship was about 300 nautical miles away, government sources said. On Tuesday, the U.S. Navy warned mariners that pirates were attacking ships extending hundreds of miles offshore. (via CNN)

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