Crewmember: Pirates Still Have Ship's US Captain

By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2009 12:15 PM CDT
This undated image shows the 17,000-ton container ship Maersk Alabama.   (AP Photo)
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(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.