Crewmember: Pirates Still Have Ship's US Captain

By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 8, 2009 12:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – The American crew of a ship hijacked by pirates today off northern Somalia has retaken control, though a crewmember says the vessel’s captain remains a hostage. The AP called a satellite phone aboard the Maersk Alabama, and was told by someone with an American accent that the 20-member crew negotiated its release after capturing one of the pirates.

The captain is in a lifeboat with several pirates, the crewmember said, and negotiations continue. The ship was carrying emergency relief to Mombasa, Kenya, when it was hijacked, the sixth vessel seized in the area within a week. It is said to be the first pirate attack involving US nationals and a US-flagged vessel in recent memory.

This undated image shows the 17,000-ton container ship Maersk Alabama.   (AP Photo)
This 2001 photo released by Massachusetts Maritime Academy shows Capt. Shane Murphy, a graduate of the academy and second in command aboard the Maersk Alabama.   (Massachusetts Maritime Academy)
This undated image shows the 17,000-ton container ship Maersk Alabama, hijacked by Somalia pirates with 20 US crew members aboard.   (AP Photo)
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