Pentagon: U.S. crew retakes ship

PENTAGON: U.S. CREW RETAKES SHIP…. The news this morning about the latest hijacking from Somali pirates was obviously distressing. The ship, with a crew of 20 Americans, was en route to Kenya with emergency relief aid, including shipments from the United Nations’ World Food Program, when it was seized about 300 miles off Somalia’s coast

Reports this afternoon indicate that the Americans have retaken the ship.

Crew members of a U.S.-flagged ship have regained control of the vessel from pirates who seized it, a Pentagon official said Wednesday. […]

The crew is believed to be safe, and one pirate is in custody, the official said. It’s unclear whether other pirates remain on board the ship or whether they have fled, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Details are, not surprisingly, still pretty sketchy, but the AP report quoted U.S. officials who said the crew has, in fact, retaken control.

The New York Timesreport noted that the “chief officer and captain of the vessel are both graduates of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Capt. Richard Phillips of Underhill, Vermont, is a 1979 graduate of the maritime academy, and Capt. Shane Murphy, 34, the chief officer graduated in 2001.”

Murphy’s father, Capt. Joseph Murphy, is an instructor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and told the AP he’d spoken with his son who had called him to say the crew had regained control.

As for the pirates, one is believed to be in custody, while the rest of the gunmen are believed to be “in the water.”

I know this isn’t exactly political news, per se, but I love stories like these.

Update: As of late this afternoon: “The crew of a U.S.-operated container ship that was commandeered by Somali pirates regained control of the vessel Wednesday and temporarily seized one of the attackers, but the pirates took the ship’s captain hostage and were holding him on a lifeboat, one of the American crew members said. The company that owns the vessel, the 17,000-ton Maersk Alabama, later confirmed the account and said there were no injuries among the crew.”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.