I vaguely remember news reports of a pirate hijacking of a freighter ship flying under a United States flag. The year was 2009 and the story made news because it was the first time a ship flying the American flag had been hijacked since the early 19th century. When the pirates did not honor an agreement the captain made with them, the crew regained control of the ship but the captain ended up as a hostage on a large lifeboat with four pirates. After several very tense days, the captain was saved through the intervention of a Navy SEAL team.
Memories of this pirate attack were brought back when I began to see trailers for a new movie called Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks:
I quickly learned (thanks IMDB.com!) that this movie was based on a book by the real captain of the hijacked vessel. The book is an absolute page-turner. Bringing the reader quickly and painlessly up to speed with a brief history of the Merchant Marines as well as fascinating information about how large freighters operate and the dangers encountered by sailors working on ships carrying freight, the text moved quickly into a gripping account of the pirating incident, which occurred in April 2009.
I haven’t made time to see the movie yet, but I am so glad I’ve read the book! I will certainly try to make time in the coming weeks to check out the film.