Discovery Channel's SOMALI PIRATE TAKEDOWN THE REAL STORY Documents Never-Before-Told Stories Behind Dramatic Maersk Alabama Pirate Standoff
-- Comprehensive Special Features New Footage of U.S. Navy's Decisive Response, First-Ever Accounts from Maersk Alabama's Crew and Exclusive Footage From Military Channel Production Crews Aboard U.S. Navy Vessels Leading Counter-Piracy Operations --
(Silver Spring, Md.) This past April, news of U.S. Navy snipers bringing a swift end to the Somalia pirate standoff captivated the world's attention. After failing to seize the Maersk Alabama, the three remaining Somali pirates were dramatically shot dead while holding Captain Richard Phillips hostage aboard a powerless lifeboat. However, the heroic stories of the Maersk Alabama's crew and the U.S. Navy's courageous maneuvers have not been shared fully, until now. The Discovery Channel and Military Channel have combined forces to tell the complete story in the world premiere special, SOMALI PIRATE TAKEDOWN THE REAL STORY. This comprehensive special features compelling new footage of the pirates aboard the rogue lifeboat, first-ever broadcast interviews with members of the Maersk Alabama crew, an outline of the U.S. Navy's efforts to successfully rescue Captain Phillips, and exclusive footage shot by Military Channel's embedded crews aboard U.S. Navy ships leading counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. SOMALI PIRATE TAKEDOWN THE REAL STORY premieres Sunday, June 21, 2009 at 10 PM ET/PT on Discovery Channel. An extended version premieres on Military Channel on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 9 PM ET.
John Ford, president and general manager of Discovery Channel stated, "The world stopped and watched as the harrowing story of the Maersk Alabama unfolded. This special provides a riveting moment-by-moment account of the ship's story -- from the time the pirates boarded the cargo vessel to the safe return of Captain Phillips -- in an emotional series of first-person interviews with the crew and new footage of the pirates. For the first time, viewers will hear the complete story of what really happened aboard the cargo ship. To be able to showcase the crew's heroism as well as the U.S. Navy's ongoing efforts to keep the waterways safe is an honor and a privilege for Discovery Channel and Military Channel."
Using astounding footage of the pirates aboard the captured lifeboat and in-depth interviews with the men aboard the Maersk Alabama throughout the ordeal, SOMALI PIRATE TAKEDOWN THE REAL STORY provides a true understanding of the events that led to the dramatic rescue of Captain Richard Phillips. Interviews with some of the Maersk Alabama's crew include First Mate Shane Murphy, Chief Engineer Mike Perry, Second Engineer Richard Matthews, Third Mate Colin Wright and Third Engineer John Cronin. Some interviews, including Chief Engineer Mike Perry's, are crew members' first broadcast interviews where they share their experiences of confronting the pirates and regaining control of their ship. It was Perry who initially turned the tables by single-handedly capturing one of the pirates, who was later held captive by some of the crew including Matthews, Wright and Cronin. After a failed hostage exchange, First Mate Murphy took control of the Maersk Alabama in Captain Phillips' absence and shadowed the pirates until the U.S. Navy could respond to the crisis. Additionally, Vice Admiral William E. Gortney and Rear Admiral Terrence E. McKnight illustrate the U.S. Navy's timeline of events from the Maersk Alabama's initial distress call to the amazing conclusion featuring three simultaneous gunshots fired by U.S. Navy SEAL snipers. Kevin Dockery, Navy SEAL expert and author, discusses the expertise required to coordinate these deadly accurate shots from the fantail of a moving vessel.
"Military Channel is dedicated to honoring the heroes of the U.S. armed forces and there is no better example then this story featuring the men and women of the U.S. Navy who helped bring Captain Phillips home safely," said Clark Bunting, president and general manager of Military Channel. "In partnership with Discovery Channel, SOMALI PIRATE TAKEDOWN THE REAL STORY showcases the skill and bravery of the U.S. Navy, which is combating the pirates who terrorize the waters off Somalia, in order to ensure the safe passage of vessels through these vital shipping channels."
Beyond this remarkable standoff, SOMALI PIRATE TAKEDOWN THE REAL STORY also shares how the U.S. Navy currently protects the dangerous seas around the Horn of Africa, where piracy is rampant due to the lawlessness along the coast of Somalia. In March and April, Military Channel crews were embedded aboard the U.S.S. Boxer, the flagship for the Combined Task Force 151 charged with deterring and disrupting piracy activities in this region, and additional vessels within this naval force.
SOMALI PIRATE TAKEDOWN THE REAL STORY was produced by Discovery Studios, in association with Single Malt Media LLC, for Discovery Channel and Military Channel. Christo Doyle is executive producer for Military Channel and Alan Eyres is executive producer for Discovery Channel, with Michael Masland as executive producer for Discovery Studios and Brian J. Kelly as executive producer for Single Malt Media LLC. John Ford is president and general manager of Discovery Channel and Clark Bunting is president and general manager of Discovery Emerging Networks.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world's number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 170 countries. Discovery empowers people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Planet Green, Investigation Discovery, Military Channel and HD Theater, as well as leading consumer and educational products and services, and a diversified portfolio of digital media services including HowStuffWorks.com. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.