Navy Ship Arrives At Scene Of Piracy Off Somalia

04.09.09 | FL News Team

flnn-bainbridge - Navy Ship

A U.S. Navy destroyer arrived yesterday on the scene of a ship hijacking off the coast of Somalia. The USS Bainbridge was already in the area, is believed to be negotiating with the pirates. At this point, though, the US Navy Fifth Fleet has refused to comment.

A band of Somali pirates captured an American-flagged vessel early Wednesday and seized its captain. But the crew of 20 aboard the Maersk Alabama subdued one of the pirates, tied him up and hid him in an equipment room.

Meantime, three other pirates escaped with the skipper. After a 12-hour standoff, the crew released the captured pirate in return for their captain, but the pirates reneged on the deal. At last report, the captain was still being held hostage, but the crew was in control of the Alabama. 

The cargo ship is carrying 400 containers of food destined for relief aid in Uganda and Somalia. The hijacking is said to be the first seizure of a U.S.-flagged ship on the high seas in about 200 years. 

Navy officials say they are "in control of the situation." The Navy has always been reluctant to storm ships to rescue hostages. Instead, it concentrates on preventative measures.