UPDATE: As has been reported in the news and in the comments, the ship was indeed retaken by the crew however the captain of the ship remains a hostage. The BBC (I know, I know...) reports:
US crew members have retaken their hijacked ship but their captain is still being held by Somali pirates on a lifeboat, reports say.
Pentagon sources and relatives of the Maersk Alabama's 20 crew were earlier quoted as saying the ship was back under control after a struggle.
But later reports emerged that the captain was still in the hands of the hijackers, adrift in the lifeboat.
Interesting article from the BEEB. They report that the ship took as much evasive action as it could but the pirates still boarded the vessel. It also pointed out that this was the first time in 200 years that a US-flagged ship has been taken over by pirates. I Wonder if President Obama will recognize the historical elements here that date back to when President Jefferson sent the US Marine Corp to the Barbary Coast in North Africa to deal with pirates there. We'll see.
Earlier today the headlines read "Somali Pirates Capture 20 Americans" as yet another merchant ship - this time flying the stars and stripes - was "hijacked".
I dashed off an email to my snake-eater Seal-type Jake to talk about what the sequence could be when - not if, but when - we went in to take it back. Jake replied with the standard thoughts crafted for an unclass audience - simultaneous actions that, at best, should happen in international waters. Get layout/construction plan of the vessel, the Maersk Alabama. Covert boarding at night. Distractors to take the attention of the hijackers. Etc so on and so forth.
Then BOOM. Headlines earlier this afternoon suggest that these Somali pirates picked the wrong ship and the wrong crew to dick with.
American Crew Regains Control of Hijacked Ship, One Pirate in Custody
Defense Department officials confirmed that one pirate is in custody. A U.S. official said the status of the other pirates is unknown but they were reported to "be in the water."
More details to come. This has the makings of a great story! At least until the Justice department charges the American sailors with violating the international civil rights of the unemployed, indiginent and un-licensed and peaceful Somali fishermen (who fish with AK-47's and RPGs).