Message in a bottle+cardboard=pirates foiled
October 11th, 2011
12:13 PM ET

Message in a bottle+cardboard=pirates foiled

CNN's Richard Allen Greene, Chris Lawrence, Claudia Rebaza, Gisella Deputato, Laura Perez Maestro and David McKenzie contributed to this report

The crew of an Italian ship seized by pirates on Monday was freed Tuesday thanks to an operation by U.S. and British troops working with the Italian military, the Italian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Eleven pirates who hijacked the Montecristo surrendered to the troops operating under NATO's Operation Ocean Shield, the ministry said in a statement.

All crew members are safe, the ministry said.

They barricaded themselves in the engine room after throwing a message overboard in a bottle and putting up a cardboard sign to let rescuers know where they were.

They were able to retain control of the ship's steering, even though the pirates destroyed the ship's communications equipment, a NATO officer said. FULL POST