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U.S. warships track hostage-holding pirates

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Abdi Guled

Sunday, April 12, 2009

U.S. warships tracked a boatload of gunmen holding a U.S. ship’s captain hostage off the Somali coast on Sunday and unidentified military helicopters flew over the pirate lair of Haradheere.

The gunmen were in a lifeboat out of fuel and drifting toward land, U.S. military officials said. If it reached shore, they might try to escape with their hostage, the officials said.

The U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama container ship was attacked far out in the Indian Ocean on Wednesday but its 20 American crew apparently fought off the pirates and regained control.

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Relatives said merchant marine Captain Richard Phillips, 53, volunteered to go with the pirates in a Maersk Alabama lifeboat in exchange for the safety of his ship and its crew.

The four Somali pirates holding him want $2 million ransom and a guarantee of safe passage.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

The incident has sharpened international attention on the growing problem of piracy in the busy sea lanes of the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

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This article was posted: Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 10:41 am

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