Experts on Somalia are dubious of claims made by the country's provisional government, whose president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, reportedly has family ties to the pirates.
"I'm not saying it's impossible that this has happened, but I'd take anything they say with a great deal of salt," said J. Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. "They have made fanciful claims before in the hopes of attracting U.S. and other international attention."
Frankly the whole story is suspicious, if for no other reason than the ship shown in the photo is not a cargo ship, but a commercial fishing vessel. The opening in the starboard side of the hull on the foredeck is where the trawling nets get dragged back on board. It's a standard feature of all the Japanese "Maru" fishing boats. And note the absence of cargo cranes.