Seals Rescue Maersk Alabama's Capt. Phillips

Seals 3     Somali Pirates  0


This past April 2009, news of U.S. Navy snipers bringing a swift end to the Somalia pirate standoff captivated the world's attention. After failing to seize the Maersk Alabama, the three remaining Somali pirates were dramatically shot dead while holding Captain Richard Phillips hostage aboard a powerless lifeboat.

The ship, with a crew of 21, loaded with 17,000 metric tons of cargo, was bound for Mombasa, Kenya. On April 8, 2009, four pirates boarded the ship, hijacking it in the process. Unknown to the pirates, a dozen of the Alabama's crew members were members of the Seafarer's International Union and received anti-piracy instruction from the union. Their training included the use of small arms, anti-terror, basic safety, first aid, and other security-related courses.

The crew soon used "brute force" to retake control of the ship, and overpowered the leader of the pirates. The ship's captain, Richard Phillips, 53, surrendered himself to ensure his crew's safety. The crew attempted to trade the pirate they had captured and tied up for twelve hours for the captain, but after the crew released their captive, the pirates refused to honor the agreement.

They fled in one of the ship's covered lifeboats with nine days of food rations and took Phillips with them, because the crew had control of the ship's steering from the engine room. This video is a clip from a new docudrama from the Discovery Channel and tells what happened at sea to the Somali pirates who took the Maersk Alabama and its crew hostage.

10 minutes 15 seconds

Click Play, Pause, Stop Buttons on left

Drag slider in center to quickly move within the film

Drag slider on right to adjust volume