The story

Pirates off the eastern coast of Africa fired on U.S. sailors Saturday as they tried to reach the lifeboat where an American captain is being held, a U.S. official familiar with the situation told CNN.

The gunfire forced the sailors, who did not return fire, back to the guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge, the official said.

Capt. Richard Phillips reportedly offered himself as a hostage to the pirates during an attack Wednesday on the U.S.-flagged container ship Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean. Read full article »

CNN's Stephanie Elam, Mohammed Jamjoom and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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