Captain taken hostage by Somali pirates on the high-seas
The captain of a US cargo ship carrying food to African refugees has been taken hostage by Somali pirates and the crew are trying to plead with them for the return of their captain.
Military help has arrived on the scene now.
The pirates attacked the ship this morning and seized the US Maersk Alabama from Norfolk Virginia. This is the first time since the early 19th century that a US merchant ship has been hijacked in this region.
There were four pirates and twenty crew members and after a matter of hours the crew regained control of the vessel, but second mate Ken Quinn has described to CNN what the sixth hijacking in five days has been like for them:
Quinn, sounding harried in a terse mobile phone call to CNN, said the crew had released one of the pirates they had tied up for 12 hours. But the hijackers were refusing to return Captain Richard Phillips.
"Right now, they want to hold our captain for ransom and we're trying to get him back," Quinn told the US network.
"He's in the ship's lifeboat," he said, explaining the four pirates had taken the lifeboat off the Maersk Alabama and that Phillips was in touch with his crew via ship's radio.
"So now we're just trying to offer them whatever we can. Food. But it's not working too good."
The Pentagon confirmed a US Navy ship was en route and it has now arrived. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out about what happened:
"More generally, we think the world must come together to end the scourge of piracy," she told reporters, after the White House earlier said it was "closely monitoring" the ship's fate.
The ship is bringing relief cargo to people in Kenya.