Pirates take US ship with 20 Americans aboard (updated: crew retakes control)

Rick Moran
Update: The BBC reports the crew has taken control.

The US crew of a ship hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia has retaken control of the vessel, according to Pentagon sources.

Unnamed US defence officials said one pirate had been captured by the 20-strong crew of the Maersk Alabama, seized earlier in the Indian Ocean.

But the vessel's Danish owners, Maersk, said they could not confirm that the vessel had been retaken. ...

Maersk's chief executive, John Reinhart, said he could not confirm that the ship had been retaken but said contact had been made with the crew.

"We have a crisis centre and we have vessel managers and superintendents that are working with the vessel at all times," he told a news conference.

"We had a cell-phone call from a member of the crew that said the crew is safe."

Pirates off the coast of Somalia have taken a US flagged vessel with 20 American crew members aboard: The New York Times:

Pirates commandeered a United States-flagged container ship with 20 American crew members off the coast of Somalia on Wednesday, in what appeared to be the first time an American-crewed ship was seized by pirates in the area.

The ship was taken by pirates at about 7:30 a.m. local time, 280 miles southeast of the Somali city of Eyl, a known haven for pirates, a spokesman for the United States Navy said. The ship is owned and operated by Maersk Line Limited, a United States subsidiary of A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, the Danish shipping giant.

The Maersk Alabama was at least the sixth commercial ship commandeered by pirates in the last week off the Horn of Africa, one of the most notoriously lawless zones on the high seas, where pirates have been operating with near impunity despite efforts by many nations, including the United States, to intimidate them with naval warship patrols.

There was no additional information immediately available about the crew, the company said in a statement.

The SEALs train for situations like this but I don't think the president will use them unless negotiations fail. Rushing in at this point with some kind of military action will only get some of the hostages killed.

But the recent increase in pirate activity means that they have rebuilt a lot of the infrastucture that we and other nations took out around 6 months ago. A couple of coastal towns had turned into pirate havens and our action in destroying those sanctuaries led to an immediate drop off in pirate activity.

I suppose we could question why the navies of the world allowed the pirates to rebuild. Wasn't anyone keeping an eye on them? Apparently not.

Obama will no doubt let the Navy and State Department handle this situation which is the same thing Bush or any president would have done. But if the hostage situation drags on, pressure will build for the president to "do something." How he handles himself will tell us a lot about what he's made of.
Update: The BBC reports the crew has taken control.

The US crew of a ship hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia has retaken control of the vessel, according to Pentagon sources.

Unnamed US defence officials said one pirate had been captured by the 20-strong crew of the Maersk Alabama, seized earlier in the Indian Ocean.

But the vessel's Danish owners, Maersk, said they could not confirm that the vessel had been retaken. ...

Maersk's chief executive, John Reinhart, said he could not confirm that the ship had been retaken but said contact had been made with the crew.

"We have a crisis centre and we have vessel managers and superintendents that are working with the vessel at all times," he told a news conference.

"We had a cell-phone call from a member of the crew that said the crew is safe."

Pirates off the coast of Somalia have taken a US flagged vessel with 20 American crew members aboard: The New York Times:

Pirates commandeered a United States-flagged container ship with 20 American crew members off the coast of Somalia on Wednesday, in what appeared to be the first time an American-crewed ship was seized by pirates in the area.

The ship was taken by pirates at about 7:30 a.m. local time, 280 miles southeast of the Somali city of Eyl, a known haven for pirates, a spokesman for the United States Navy said. The ship is owned and operated by Maersk Line Limited, a United States subsidiary of A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, the Danish shipping giant.

The Maersk Alabama was at least the sixth commercial ship commandeered by pirates in the last week off the Horn of Africa, one of the most notoriously lawless zones on the high seas, where pirates have been operating with near impunity despite efforts by many nations, including the United States, to intimidate them with naval warship patrols.

There was no additional information immediately available about the crew, the company said in a statement.

The SEALs train for situations like this but I don't think the president will use them unless negotiations fail. Rushing in at this point with some kind of military action will only get some of the hostages killed.

But the recent increase in pirate activity means that they have rebuilt a lot of the infrastucture that we and other nations took out around 6 months ago. A couple of coastal towns had turned into pirate havens and our action in destroying those sanctuaries led to an immediate drop off in pirate activity.

I suppose we could question why the navies of the world allowed the pirates to rebuild. Wasn't anyone keeping an eye on them? Apparently not.

Obama will no doubt let the Navy and State Department handle this situation which is the same thing Bush or any president would have done. But if the hostage situation drags on, pressure will build for the president to "do something." How he handles himself will tell us a lot about what he's made of.