US warships blocking pirate reinforcements

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - U.S. warships are trying to stop Somali pirates from sending reinforcements to a lifeboat off Africa's eastern coast where an American ship captain is being held hostage.

A Nairobi-based diplomat, who spoke on condition on anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to reporters, says at least two U.S. ships and a surveillance aircraft are deterring pirate ships and skiffs from contact with the lifeboat.

A Somali, who has been in contact with the pirates, says they are threatening to kill Capt. Richard Phillips if the U.S. attacks them.

Phillips was seized Wednesday after he thwarted the pirates' bid to hijack the U.S.-flagged Maersk (mersk) Alabama freighter.

The Alabama is headed toward the Kenyan port of Mombasa, its original destination, with 20 American crew members aboard.

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