Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hijacked ship's captain is unharmed: Maersk

The captain of a US aid ship taken hostage after his vessel was hijacked by Somali pirates is alive and well, the Danish shipping company Maersk said Thursday.

The Maersk Alabama, which is owned by Maersk's US subsidiary Maersk Line Ltd, had 20 American crew members aboard on Wednesday when the attack happened.

"Most recent contact with the Alabama indicated that the captain remains a hostage but is unharmed at this time," Kevin Speers, a US-based spokesman for Maersk, told reporters in Norfolk, Virginia where Maersk Line Ltd has its headquarters.

"The safe return of the captain is our foremost priority. Everything we've done over the past day has strived to increase the chance of a peaceful outcome," he said.

The guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge arrived on the scene of the standoff early Thursday. Speers said the warship was "in command" of the situation.

The attack took place in waters 500 kilometres (310 miles) southeast of the Somali town of Eyl.

The unarmed crew regained control of the ship some hours later, but the pirates fled the ship taking the captain as a hostage.

Source: AFP

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