American captain freed from Somali pirates

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Captain Richard Phillips of the American cargo ship Maersk Alabama has been freed from Somali pirates after being held hostage for four days. The U.S. Navy reports three of the four pirates were killed in a short gun battle with Navy SEALs, with the fourth being taken into custody.

The USS Boxer.
Image: US Navy.

Phillips was removed to the USS Bainbridge, a Navy warship, before being flown to another, the USS Boxer, where he was examined and is said to be in good health. Talks between the Navy and pirates were not going well prior to the short battle.

"The negotiations between the elders and American officials have broken down. The reason is American officials wanted to arrest the pirates in Puntland and elders refused the arrest of the pirates," said an official involved.

The FBI announced it was opening an investigation into the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, which arrived at its original destination of Mombasa, Kenya on Saturday.

"We are all absolutely thrilled to learn that Richard is safe and will be re-united with his family," John Reinhart, CEO of the Maersk Line said. "Maersk Line Limited is deeply grateful to the Navy, the FBI and so many others for their tireless efforts to secure Richard's freedom."