The U.S. is gearing up for a standoff with the band of pirates who hijacked a U.S.-flagged cargo ship off the coast of Somalia as a Navy warship reportedly arrived at the scene early Thursday.
The crew of the Maersk Alabama were able to regain control of the vessel Wednesday, but the pirates escaped with the captain as a captive. Kevin Speers, a spokesman for the owner of ship, told the Associated Press that a U.S. Navy warship arrived at the scene, and the pirates and their hostage were a short distance away in one of the ship's lifeboats.
Family members said Capt. Richard Phillips surrendered to the pirates to secure the safety of the crew.
"What I understand is that he offered himself as the hostage," said Gina Coggio, 29, half sister of Phillips' wife. "That is what he would do. It's just who he is and his response as a captain."
It is unclear, however, how the standoff will end, given that Western countries in the past have faced legal difficulties in pursuing such pirates in international waters.