Pirates seized this container ship on Wednesday, taking 20 American crew members captive. The Maersk Alabama--the first U.S.-manned ship to be commandeered--was carrying thousands of tons of relief aid to Kenya.

There have been over 50 pirate attacks this year in and around the Gulf of Aden, which separates the Arabian peninsula from the Horn of Africa. According to Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, 16 ships and hundreds of crew members remain in pirate custody as ransom negotiations continue.

In today's TNR slideshow, we bring you images of the most troubling recent pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden.

--Alexander Wolf

Image courtesy of Getty