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April 9, 2009

Maersk Alabama on the move

The Maersk Alabama is on the move, headed for its original destination of Mombasa, Kenya, agencies report. On board is an armed security detail.

Meantime, Captain Richard Phillips is still being held by four pirates in one of the Maersk Alabama's life boats, which is now floating without fuel.

A U.S. warship, the Bainbridge, is in sight of the lifeboat (which is presumably in the location shown on the NATO map released this morning).

FBI hostage negotiators are advising the Navy on how to handle negotiations with the pirates. Moving the Alabama out of sight of the pirates might be one of the moves suggested by the FBI as a way of underlining the hopelessness of their situation.

A Maersk Line, Limited statement issued at 1.00 PM EDT said:

The situation involving the Maersk Alabama and her crew continues to evolve. All of the crewmembers except for the ship's captain are now safely aboard Maersk Alabama. Maersk Line, Limited remains focused on two goals: to secure the safe release of the ship's captain and to transit the Maersk Alabama safely to her next port of call, where the crew can be repatriated to the U.S. and reunited with their families. For security reasons, we are not able to share details on the ship's compliment or schedule, but we can confirm that the ship has left the area. We continue to communicate with crewmembers' families on the status of their loved ones.

USS Bainbridge, a U.S. Navy Destroyer, is on-site and in contact with the lifeboat where the Alabama's captain is being held hostage. We continue working closely with the Navy and other government agencies to affect a resolution of this situation. Our primary concern remains the safe return of the captain and our latest communications with the ship indicate that he is unharmed.

We will continue to provide further updates as they become available.


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