TV show to track U.S. Navy's battles with pirates

Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:13pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A day after the violent rescue of a U.S. ship captain from Somali pirates, a cable television channel on Monday said it will air a reality show about the U.S. Navy's mission to stop piracy off the coast of Africa.

Producers and the Navy have been in talks for three months about the show, which is titled "Pirate Hunters: USN" and is expected to air as a one-hour special in the fall on Spike TV.

The Navy will allow cameras from Spike and 44 Blue Productions to capture life aboard warships USS San Antonio and USS Boxer as their crews search for pirates.

On Sunday, Navy snipers shot dead three Somali pirates holding cargo ship captain Richard Phillips captive off the coast of Somalia. Pirates abound in the region, where civil conflict complicates efforts to control the age-old scourge.

"By all accounts it will get worse, pirates will get more deadly and certainly the Navy will try to counter that," said Rasha Drachkovitch, president of 44 Blue Productions.

So far, most of the known fatalities involving Somali piracy have involved the pirates themselves: hostages are by most accounts well-treated and released unharmed, usually after ransoms are paid.

If "Pirate Hunters: USN" is successful, it could return as a mini-series on Spike, Drachkovitch said.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Eric Walsh)

<p>In a still frame from video taken by the Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle on April 9, 2009, a 28-foot lifeboat from the U.S.-flagged container ship Maersk Alabama is seen in the Indian Ocean. The U.S. Navy shot dead three Somali pirates and rescued cargo ship captain Richard Phillips on April 12, 2009 from a lifeboat off the coast of Somalia where he was being held captive, ending a five-day standoff. REUTERS/U.S. Navy Photo/Handout</p>