PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio1020 KDKA) – Tom Hanks recently portrayed a man who was taken captive by Somali pirates. Capt. Richard Phillips is that man in real life, and that movie was based on his personal experience.
Phillips is the keynote speaker at the Traffic Club’s 112th Annual Dinner tonight, but first he stopped by KDKA to talk about his memorable story.
He was taken and held hostage in 2009, but later was rescued by the Navy SEALs. After such an experience, no one would have thought less of him if he would have left that part of his life behind and never returned to a boat, but not Capt. Phillips.
“To me, it was more of a relief to get back to things I know,” said Phillips. “In my experience, I’ve really been going to sea for 32 years at that point, 35 or so now, and for me it was getting back to my normal and what I’m used to doing and that’s working and sailing on a ship.”
Phillips still sails through the area where it all took place, he says even though he’s on a different ship and sails through plenty of different waters, piracy is something they deal with world wide.
KDKA Radio’s Bill Rehkopf asked if Phillips thought piracy is worse today than it was back in 2009.
“I think it’s pretty much the same on the east coast of Africa, the whole Somali area has decreased. I think we have gone over 24 months without a ship being hijacked, but on the west coast it’s picked up off Nigeria,” said Phillips.
Many people saw the movie “Captain Phillips,” but how similar was it to what he went through?
“You need to remember it is a movie, it is five days brought down to a little over two hours, so there is more that is left out and that may change. Some of the things they changed happened, but may have happened a different way, but Paul Greengrass really boiled it down to the main story of the peril on the sea,” said Phillips. “I think they did a very good job at doing that, and of course, Tom Hanks is a great actor and he did a good job, too.”
You can listen to the whole interview with Captain Phillips here: