Somali pirates on Wednesday hijacked a U.S.-flagged cargo ship with 20 American crew members aboard, FOX News has learned.
The 17,000-ton Maersk Alabama was carrying emergency relief to Mombasa, Kenya at the time it was hijacked, said Peter Beck-Bang, spokesman for the Copenhagen-based container shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk.
A Kenya-based diplomat identified the vessel and told the Associated Press all crew members are American. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The U.S. Navy confirmed the hijacking early Wednesday off the eastern coast of Somalia and said it is monitoring the situation with its own ships.
Spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen said the attack happened in the early hours of the morning, about 280 miles northeast of Eyl, a town in the northern Puntland region of Somalia.
“The area, the ship was taken in, is not where the focus of our ships has been,” Christensen told The Associated Press on the phone from the 5th Fleet’s Mideast headquarters in Bahrain.