Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is talking with his wife Andrea (Catherine Keener) while he is packing to go join the ship Maersk Alabama. Phillips is traveling to an area that is becoming know for pirates. This is a true story.
Phillips arrives to meet his first mate Shane Murphy (Michael Chernus) and is informed of their destination, Mombasa. All the while in a tiny village the leading war lord has sent people to ask very nicely where is his tribute. Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi) is awaken and told to get the money or else. They are told to go rob a boat for you see most of the men in the village are nothing more than pirates. Muse and three men are headed to the water to board a ship that will take them out and given some skiffs they are to simply rob and unsuspecting vessel.
Phillips and his crew are out on the open water now but they are separated from the convoy. This is not good in these waters. Pirates are always looking for the straggler. They are easier to hit rather than a convoy. Phillips notices the skiff's on the radar and orders the crew to the water cannons. Pirates have guns and ships crews have water. makes a lot of sense. At first, Muse and his little band of pirates are catching up on the vessel but then their engine fails. Muse gets into an argument with the Somali messenger and will eventually kill him. Muse and his men will continue their mission and do make it aboard the vessel.
Phillips had already called to the UK Maritime Trade Operations to inform them of the possible hi-jacking. U.S. vessels were in the area but were not close enough to give assistance. Muse and Phillips would walk the ship with Phillips offering anything he could find. Eventually Muse would kidnap Phillips and take him to Somalia where he thought they could ransom the Captain for better money.
Pirating has been on the rise for about the last twenty years. Somalia is one of the worst for this type of action. Over the years many a pirate from Somalia have attacked vessels and ransomed of their crew or ship.
Director Paul Greengrass has brought real life drama to the big screen. He has shown us what is happening a half a world away. Men and women are simply trying to earn a living but in the meantime they risk life and limb. This will not stop until someone finally foes in and takes out the warlords. Somalia as a country has been in disarray since the U.S. pulled out some twenty years ago.