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A Captain's Duty

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Title: A Captain's Duty  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Captain Phillips (film), Piracy in Somalia, Writers Guild of America Awards 2013, Richard Phillips (merchant mariner), Maersk Alabama hijacking
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

A Captain's Duty

A Captain's Duty
Author Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty
Country United States
Language English
Genre Non-Fiction
Publisher Hyperion Books
Publication date
April 6, 2010
Media type Hardcover
Pages 304
OCLC 674694313

A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea is a book by Captain Richard Phillips, the captain of the container ship MV Maersk Alabama when it was hijacked in 2009.[1][2][3][4] It was written with Stephan Talty.

Published by Hyperion on April 6, 2010 (and on audio by Tantor), the text tells the story of Phillips' capture and hostage-taking by Somali pirates in April 2009. The book alternates between Phillips's five-day ordeal and the plight of his family in Vermont, watching the drama unfold on cable news. ABC News reported that the publication of his book coincided with a rise in concern about piracy.[4]


A mariner of 30 years' experience when his ship was taken, Phillips took extensive security precautions to keep his crew safe and hidden, leaving himself as the only possible hostage. This led to an ordeal of several days in a lifeboat in the hands of pirates, who Phillips portrays as alternately conciliatory, vicious, and unfocused.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy assembled a large task force, and tensions steadily rose, as did Phillips’ fear for his life. The book details Phillips' attempted escape and eventual rescue by U.S. Navy SEALs, and portrays Phillips' wife Andrea as loyal and strong-willed.


Columbia Pictures optioned the book and acquired the life rights to Phillips in spring 2009.[5] In March 2011, it was announced that Barkhad Abdi would star as the lead Somali pirate, Tom Hanks would star as Phillips and Faysal Ahmed as Najee in a Columbia film based on the hijacking and Phillips's book, scripted by Billy Ray, and produced by the team behind The Social Network.[5] The film, entitled Captain Phillips, was released in October 11, 2013 to widespread critical acclaim.


  1. ^  
  2. ^ Bob Minzesheimer (2010-04-04). "Richard Phillips recalls 'Days at Sea' as pirates' hostage".  
  3. ^ John Curran (2010-04-01). "Rescued sea captain writes book on hostage drama".  
  4. ^ a b Mark Mooney (2010-04-06). "Captain's Book Details How He Foiled and Infuriated Somali Pirates: Chief Mate Faked Radio Conversation With U.S. Navy to Scare Off Pirates".  
  5. ^ a b Kit, Borys. "Tom Hanks to Play Capt. Richard Phillips in Somali Pirate Hostage Story," Hollywood Reporter (March 15, 2011).
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