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Museum Displays Sniper Bullets From Captain Phillips Rescue

Three Navy SEALs sharpshooter shell casings added to ScanEagle drone exhibit

SEATTLE, – The Museum made a chilling enhancement to its ScanEagle drone exhibit today, with the addition of the three shell casings from the U.S. Navy SEAL sniper bullets used to kill the last captors of Maersk Alabama Capt. Richard Phillips in 2009. The Museum’s ScanEagle aircraft-Number 678-was used by the Navy during its rescue of Phillips, who was held hostage by Somali pirates after the hijacking of his ship, and who is portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie, “Captain Phillips.” The dramatic climax of the movie centers upon the importance of the three shots from the rifle shells now on display at the Museum.

Three snipe rifle bullet casings used in rescue of hostage Capt. Richard Phillips.
Three snipe rifle bullet casings used in rescue of hostage Capt. Richard Phillips.
Rescue Background
On April 8, 2009, pirates boarded the American container ship MV Maersk Alabama off the coast of Somalia. Though the crew of the Alabama prevented them from gaining control of the ship, the would-be hijackers managed to abduct the ship’s captain, Richard Phillips.

The guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge arrived on April 9 to assist the Alabama and its crew. The Bainbridge discovered that the pirates were holding Captain Phillips hostage as they attempted to reach the coast in one of the Alabama’s lifeboats.

Shortly after arriving on scene, the Bainbridge deployed this ScanEagle UAV to help provide valuable reconnaissance and gather data on the situation aboard the lifeboat. The four-day standoff that followed involved action by two more naval vessels and a team of Navy SEALs. Phillips was eventually rescued after a team of three SEALs snipers – using one bullet each – killed the three remaining pirates holding Phillips hostage.

For more information about the movie, “Captain Phillips,” and Navy SEALs see:

MV Maersk Alabama Trailer

The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5 on Boeing Field half-way between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors 65 and older, $15 for active military, $10 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. McCormick & Schmick’s Wings Café is on site. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit