Wait, I think I may have figured out the problem

The New York Times reports,

Pirates commandeered a United States-flagged container ship with 20 American crew members off the coast of Somalia on Wednesday, the first time an American-crewed ship was seized by pirates in the area. […]

The Maersk Alabama was at least the sixth commercial ship commandeered by pirates this week off the Horn of Africa, one of the most notoriously lawless zones on the high seas, where pirates have been operating with near impunity despite efforts by many nations, including the United States, to intimidate them with naval warship patrols. (emphasis mine)

Yeah, because that’s how they stopped Blackbeard. Intimidated his head right off his shoulders.

UPDATE (04/08/09 at 1:03pm): Good news.

American crewmen have regained control of a hijacked U.S.-flagged cargo ship off the coast of Africa, the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday. […]

Somali pirates hijacked the cargo ship Wednesday hundreds of miles from the nearest U.S. military vessel in some of the most dangerous waters in the world.

Late Wednesday morning, the military confirmed that the crew had regained control of the vessel by overpowering the pirates, taking one pirate into custody and throwing three overboard.

Sounds like they really intimidated them.