The captain of the Maersk Alabama was freed Sunday after being held captive since Wednesday by pirates off the coast of Somalia, a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation told CNN.
The official said Capt. Richard Phillips is uninjured and in good condition, and that three of the four pirates were killed. The fourth pirate is in custody. Phillips was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge, a nearby naval warship.
Earlier Sunday afternoon Maersk Line Limited, owner of the Maersk Alabama, said the U.S. Navy informed the company that it had sighted Phillips in a lifeboat where pirates are holding him.
Phillips was spotted another time earlier in the day, the Navy said.
A man who answered the door at Phillips home in Underhill, Vermont, told CNN’s Stephanie Elam that the family has known the news for hours. He said details would have to come from Virginia, apparently referring to the home base of Maersk Line Limited, based in Norfolk, which owns the ship.
On Saturday, the FBI launched a criminal investigation into the hijacking of the U.S.-flagged cargo ship by Somali pirates, two law enforcement officials told CNN. The probe will be led by the FBI’s New York field office, which is responsible for looking into cases involving U.S. citizens in the African region, the officials said.
The Maersk Alabama reached port in Mombasa, Kenya, on Saturday. Crew members aboard the freed cargo ship described how some of their colleagues attempted to “jump” their pirate captors.
A scuffle ensued and one of the sailors stabbed a pirate in the hand in the battle to retake the container ship, one of the sailors told CNN.
Apparently the Captain jumped overboard again but this time there were Navy SEALS in the water who then took the pirates out. Good job Navy!