New home for Maersk Alabama lifeboatOct 25, 2013
SEAL snipers’ precise bullet holes can be seen in the hull of Maersk Alabama’s lifeboat.
Courtesy Navy SEAL Museum
The lifeboat from the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips, master of the U.S.-flagged containership Maersk Alabama, was recently put on exhibit at the Navy SEAL Museum in Ft. Pierce, Fla. On April 8, 2009, four Somali pirates hijacked Maersk Alabama. Capt. Phillips prevented the initial takeover by ordering his crew to lock themselves in a secure room while he remained on the bridge. To safeguard his crew and free Alabama, Phillips surrendered himself to the pirates and boarded a lifeboat to be taken ashore in Somalia.
In a dramatic rescue mission, Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge arrived on the scene and began negotiating with the pirates for Phillips release. On April 11, the pirates conceded to be towed by Bainbridge as negotiations continued.
As tensions mounted a team of Navy SEALs arrived on Bainbridge and took up positions on the ship, their sniper rifles aimed at the lifeboat tethered behind the ship.
On April 12, convinced that Phillips’ life was in jeopardy, the captain of Bainbridge, Cmdr. Frank Castellano, ordered the SEAL snipers to fire on the pirates. The shots could not miss. Three shots were fired, killing three pirates and sparing Phillips.