The drama that played out earlier this year, 350 miles off the coast of Somalia, is on its way to cinema screens, courtesy of Columbia pictures and State of Play and Flightplan writer Billy Ray.
The cargo ship Maersk Alabama was boarded and hijacked by four Somali pirates, on its way to Mombasa. The crew were able to resist to some extent, but the pirates escaped on a 28ft lifeboat with Captain Richard Phillips as hostage. A standoff with the US Navy ensued, during which Phillips almost managed to swim for it at one point. But the siege ultimately ended with three of the pirates shot dead and the fourth, on board the USS Bainbridge negotiating a ransom, taken into custody; the first time a pirate has been taken by the US Navy since the 1800s.
Columbia has the rights to Phillips' memoir of the events, A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs and Five Dangerous Days, which is to be published by Hyperion next Spring. Michael De Luca, Kevin Spacey, Dana Brunetti and Scott Rudin are producing.
Should be the basis for a tense modern-day drama on the high seas, although, not to belittle the many mariners who remain hostage at sea in similar situations, it might be difficult to get Bill Murray's action rampage in The Life Aquatic out of our heads.