US Warship Arrives at Hijacking Site; Captain Still Held

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2009 6:31 PM CDT
This undated image shows the 17,000-ton container ship Maersk Alabama, which was hijacked today.   (AP Photo/Polfoto, file)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – A Navy warship and other vessels have arrived in the waters off Somalia where pirates are holding the American captain of a cargo ship hostage, CNN reports. The pirates and the captain are in a lifeboat as the cargo ship's American crew continues negotiations to free Capt. Richard Phillips of Vermont. The unarmed crew foiled the pirates' attempt to hijack their ship earlier in the day.

One US sailor told the AP that the pirates at one point held the entire 20-man crew hostage, but the Americans overpowered them and captured a pirate. The hijackers fled to a lifeboat with the captain and later reneged on a deal to free him. President Obama is following the situation closely, an adviser said. The ship was carrying emergency relief to Mombasa, Kenya, when it was hijacked. It's the first US ship seized in the new wave of piracy.