With the standoff between America and four Somali pirates in a lifeboat off the Horn of Africa continuing, the United States Navy is sending yet more warships to the area. At this point it seems unclear what the additional ships will add to the government’s effort to recover the hostage captain of the Maersk Alabama, who remains held in the lifeboat. One of the warships, however, the USS Halyburton, has helicopters. Other Somali pirates have reportedly moved into the area as well, apparently in an attempt to help in the capture.
The captain, Richard Phillips, tried unsuccessfully to escape the boat last night, swimming away before quickly being recaptured. The Defense Department insists that he appears not to have been harmed in the escape attempt.
The current standoff is the result of a brief seizure of the US-flagged ship by the pirates, the first such capture of a US ship by pirates in over 200 years. Despite committing a growing portion of the navy to the incident, officials concede that there are no direct ties between the pirates and any Islamic militant factions.
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