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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The False Captain Phillips


In the wake of the critical success of thriller-on-the-high-seas fable Captain Phillips, crew members under the command of the real Captain Phillips have said he was no hero, and the movie, touted as a true story, is taking great liberties with the truth.

Paul Greengrass' Captain Philips tells the story of a kindly everyman (played by everyone's favourite everyman Tom Hanks) in command of a cargo ship, until his vessel is attacked by Somali pirates and he saves his crew by heroically giving himself up for hostage. Captain Philips reviewed last month, calling it a "riveting true tale on the high seas." Speaking with the New York Post, a number of anonymous crew members have claimed the movie is not so true after all.
“Phillips wasn’t the big leader like he is in the movie,” says one crew member, who worked with Phillips on the Maersk Alabama. "No one wants to sail with him."
According to a number of those on board the ship during that fateful voyage, Phillips purposefully disregarded multiple warnings of pirates along the Somali coast and anti-piracy measures left for him when he he took command of the Maersk in 2009. He also allegedly disregarded their safety by putting them through an unnecessary fire drill as the pirates approached, not a security drill as depicted in the film.

“We said, ‘You want us to knock it off and go to our pirate stations?’ ” explained the crew member. “And he goes, ‘Oh, no, no, no — you’ve got to do the lifeboats drill.’ This is how screwed up he is. These are drills we need to do once a year. Two boats with pirates and he doesn’t give a s- -t. That’s the kind of guy he is.”

When the pirates stormed the boat, the film is apparently quite misguided in its depiction of Phillips as a hero willing to sacrifice himself. According to the crew, he was just taken.
11 crew members on the Maersk Alabama are now suing Maersk Line and the Waterman Steamship Corp. for almost $50 million, claiming a “willful, wanton and conscious disregard for their safety.” The real Captain Phillips recently appeared with Hanks on the cover of Parade Magazine, under the headline “The Making of an American Hero.”

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