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FBI, Navy working on captain's release

The U.S. Navy destroyer Bainbridge is seen in Crete, Greece in this January 10, 2009 handout photo. The U.S. Navy has disputed the Bainbridge to assist the U.S. cargo ship Maersk Alabama that has been hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. The crew of 20 Americans have been able to retake control of their vessel but the captain remains in the custody of the pirates. (UPI Photo/Paul Farley/U.S. Navy)
The U.S. Navy destroyer Bainbridge is seen in Crete, Greece in this January 10, 2009 handout photo. The U.S. Navy has disputed the Bainbridge to assist the U.S. cargo ship Maersk Alabama that has been hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. The crew of 20 Americans have been able to retake control of their vessel but the captain remains in the custody of the pirates. (UPI Photo/Paul Farley/U.S. Navy) | License Photo

MOGADISHU, Somalia, April 9 (UPI) -- FBI negotiators are working with the U.S. Navy to negotiate the freedom of a U.S. captain held by Somali pirates, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.

Holder, however, would not say where the pirates would be tried if they're captured.

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Pirates seized a U.S.-flagged cargo ship carrying humanitarian aid for African countries Wednesday. They captured the ship's captain, Richard Phillips, and were holding him in a lifeboat after crew members retook the Maersk Alabama, capturing one of the pirates. A crew member said the pirates reneged on a deal to exchange the pirate for the captain.

The lifeboat had run out of fuel, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Phillips "remains hostage but is unharmed," Maersk spokesman Kevin Speers said during a news conference. The rest of the 20-member crew was in good shape, the crew member said.

The Alabama, meanwhile, was heading to port in Mombasa, Kenya, to deliver its cargo of cooking oil and supplies, CNN reported. An 18-person security detail was on board to ensure the safety of the crew during the 50-hour journey to port.

The destroyer USS Bainbridge was positioned near the lifeboat. Pentagon officials are in almost constant contact with officials aboard Maersk Alabama, Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

U.S. President Barack Obama has been monitoring the situation, receiving updates throughout the day, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

"Obviously, his main concern is for the safety of the captain and the rest of the crew on the ship," Gibbs said during a media briefing.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said administration officials were working "around the clock" on the situation.

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