Very interesting story on the details of the the rescue of Captain Phillips carried out by Navy Seals. Apparently the SEALs set up shop on the USS Bainbridge and communicated with the pirates via radio. The seas had grown rough and the pirates agreed to be towed out to calmer waters by a towing cable attached to the Bainbridge. One pirate then gave himself up due to a knife injury he sustained when they hijacked the US ship earlier and also communicated with the three remaining pirates on the lifeboat:
The three other pirates, however, showed signs of growing irritation, as the Bainbridge, 18 miles from shore, towed the lifeboat further out to sea, the senior military official said. “They had no promise of money, clearly no passage. The one ticket they had was the captain,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter on the record.
“In the last discussion, they said, ‘If we don’t get what we want, we will kill the captain,’ ” the official said.
Soon afterward, two pirates moved to one of the hatches of the lifeboat and stuck their heads out. The third pirate advanced toward the captain and pointed his AK-47 straight at Phillips’s back, the rifle touching it or inches away, the official said.
U.S. military observers thought that Phillips was about to be shot. SEAL snipers, who were positioned on a deck at the stern of the Bainbridge, an area known as the fantail, had the three pirates in their sights. The on-scene commander gave the snipers authority to fire.
“As soon as the snipers had a clear shot at the guy who had the rifle, they shot him and the other two in the hatches,” the senior military official said.
A member of the Special Operations team slid down the tow line into the water and climbed aboard the lifeboat. Phillips was then put in a small craft and taken to the Bainbridge.