Look at me. Look at me. I'm the captain now.
~ Abduwali Muse

Abduwali Muse is the ringleader of a Somali pirate quartet that hijacked the USA Maersk Alabama in 2009. He is both the anti-villain deuteragonist and secondary antagonist of the 2013 biopic film Captain Phillips.

He is played by first time actor Barkhad Abdi.

Role in movie

Muse is first seen sleeping in a rundown hut in a desert village in Somalia. He and his whole village suffer from starvation, dehydration and third world poverty. He is selected by some crime bosses to handpick a group to track down and hijack a ship to obtain a large sum of money. Muse chooses three of his friends from the village to help while a second group is chosen to accompany them. Using two skiffs, the two groups locate and chase down the Maersk Alabama. However, Muse's skiff breaks down and the pirates on the other flee out of cowardice. That night, Muse confronts, insults and knocks out the leader of the skiff that fled.

The next day, he and his three friends catch the Alabama and successfully hijack it. Although the titular character of the film and the captain of the ship, Richard Phillips, offers the pirates $30,000, they will settle for nothing under $10 million. Although, it is implied that Muse would have been happy with the $30,000 were it not for his wealth hungry mob bosses. After some trickery from Phillips, Muse gets captured and stabbed in the hand and one of his friends gets his foot cut on a pile of broken glass set as a trap. Muse agrees to take the $30,000 and leave on a lifeboat with his crew, but he betrays Phillips and takes him hostage.

Even with the Navy hot on their trail and attempting to negotiate the $10 million settlement, Muse and the pirates persist on their quest to get Phillips to Samolia for the cash sum. While in captivity, Phillips (who the pirates belittlingly nick name "Irish") subtly attempts to talk Muse into surrendering, even expressing concern for Muse's safety since his boss has left him high and dry out of fear. Muse simply backhands all the attempts due to his life depending on the mission going successfully but he promises no harm will come to Phillips.

Eventually, Muse is persuaded to come aboard the USA Navy vessle to negotiate a deal with his elders, whom the Navy has tricked him into believing are coming. When there is a clear shot, three Navy snipers execute the other three pirates and Muse is captured. After a traumatized and distraught Phillips is saved, Muse asked if the Navy shot his friends. When all three of his friends are confirmed dead, Muse finally shows repentance for how far he let his actions go.

Muse is tried as an adult in an American court of law and sentenced to 33 years in prison, avoiding life by pleading guilty to most of his crimes.


Barkhad Abdi, who had never acted before, was nominated for 20 awards for acting, including an Oscar and Golden Globe and won nine awards including a BAFTA.