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Crew takes back control of ship

From NBC's Jim Miklaszewski

The U.S. crew aboard the Maersk Alabama has retaken control of the ship from pirates, according to U.S. officials.

*** UPDATE *** NBC News has learned that the civilian crew aboard the cargo ship Maersk Alabama has released the one pirate they had in custody, but the four pirates still hold the ship's captain hostage aboard a lifeboat. According to U.S. sources, "there are no pirates aboard the cargo ship, and the captain is still being held hostage by the pirates."

According to U.S. sources, when the when the civilian crew overpowered one of the armed pirates, the three others grabbed the captain hostage and fled the ship in one of the lifeboats. After negotiating with the pirates, the civilian crew released the one pirate they had in custody expecting the pirates to release the captain, who is still being held hostage.

At the same time, international naval forces from several countries, including the U.S. Navy, are "closing on the area fast." According to one source, the pirates are essentially "all alone, more then 300 miles out to sea, and warships from several countries are on the way."

One official says a Navy P-3 surveillance plane and unmanned drones are overhead feeding video of the scene and monitoring the situation.