A U.S.-flagged cargo ship recently seized by Somali pirates has arrived safely at its intended destination in Kenya, but its American captain remains trapped in a lifeboat with pirates demanding ransom.
The Maersk Alabama arrived in Mombasa harbor late Saturday, with its American crew members and a cargo of food aid for Somali refugees.The head of the Maersk company, John Reinhart, told reporters the ship is now being treated as a crime scene and is under control of U.S. federal investigators.
He said crew members are being briefed by investigators and will remain on board until that process is finished. The captain of the ship, Richard Phillips, is in a lifeboat with his captors nearly 500 kilometers from the Somali coast, with at least two U.S. warships nearby.
Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Aden, pirates have seized an Italian-flagged tugboat and its crew, consisting of 10 Italians, five Romanians, and one Croat.
Reuters news agency reported Saturday that sailors of a Panama-flagged bulk carrier were able to thwart off another attack in the Gulf of Aden by spraying pirates with water hoses.
There has been a sharp increase in pirate attacks off Somalia in recent weeks, despite international naval missions to stop them. Law enforcement in Somalia is weak, making it a convenient place to stage offshore attacks on busy trade routes and then escape inland.