The MV Maersk Alabama was hijacked earlier this year, when snipers from the navy killed three pirates to rescue the ship's captain, Richard Phillips. Undeterred by this minor setback, the pirates had another crack today in the waters off Somalia.

The BBC reports a gun battle after pirates opened fire, though no-one was hurt and the ship was not boarded. An EU naval force which patrols the dangerous stretch of water dispatched a plane and a search vessel but no bad guys were found. Earlier this week the same disappearing pirates returned a Spanish ship they had held for six weeks after reportedly receiving a $3.5m ransom. Piracy, it seems, is still a booming trade.