‘Captain Phillips’ movie, starring Tom Hanks, is the true story of MV Maersk Alabama hijacking
The first international trailer for the real-life saga of “Captain Phillips” has been released. Starring Tom Hanks and directed by Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum”), “Captain Phillips” tells the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama. MV Maersk Alabama was the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.
The Maersk Alabama hijacking
When the pirate alarm sounded early on Wednesday, 8 April 2009, Chief Engineer of MV Maersk Alabama brought 14 members of the crew into a “secure room” that the engineers had been in the process of fortifying for just such a purpose.
As the pirates approached, the remaining crew fired flares; in addition, Chief Engineer and 1st A/E swung the ship’s rudder, which swamped the pirate skiff.
Nonetheless, the ship was successfully boarded. Chief Engineer had initially taken main engine control away from the bridge and 1st A/E had taken control of the steering gear.
Chief Engineer then shut down all ship systems and the entire vessel “went black.”
The pirates captured Capt. Phillips and several other crew members minutes after boarding, but soon found that they could not control the ship.
Chief Engineer remained outside the secure room lying in wait, knife in hand, for a visit from the pirates who were trying to locate the missing crew members in order to gain control of the ship and presumably sail it to Somalia.
The crew attempted to exchange the pirate they had captured for the captain, but the exchange went awry and after the crew released their captive, the pirates refused to honor the agreement.
Capt. Phillips escorted the pirates to a lifeboat to show them how to operate it where they fled with the Captain.
On 10 April 2009, Phillips attempted to escape from the lifeboat but was recaptured after the captors fired shots.
The pirates then threw a phone – and a two-way radio dropped to them by the U.S. Navy – into the ocean, fearing the Americans were somehow using the equipment to give instructions to the captain.
The U.S. dispatched another warship, amphibious assault ship USSBoxer, to the site off the Horn of Africa.
The pirates’ strategy was to link up with their comrades, who were holding various other hostages, and get Phillips to Somalia, where they could hide him, making it difficult to stage a rescue and thus giving the pirates more leverage and a stronger negotiating position
Anchoring near shore would allow them to land quickly if attacked. Negotiations were ongoing between the pirates and the captain of the Bainbridge, who was under the direction of FBI hostage negotiators.
The captors were also communicating with other pirate vessels by satellite phone.
However, negotiations broke down hours after the pirates fired on the USS Halyburton, not long after sunrise Saturday in the Indian Ocean.
The American frigate did not return fire and “did not want to escalate the situation”.
No crew members of the USS Halyburton were injured, as the shots were fired randomly by a pirate from the front hatch of the lifeboat.
On Saturday, 11 April 2009, the Maersk Alabama arrived in the port of Mombasa, Kenya under U.S. military escort. An 18-man security team was on board. The FBI then secured the ship as a crime scene.
On Sunday, 12 April 2009, Capt. Richard Phillips was rescued, reportedly in good condition, from his pirate captors.
For more information please click at the following links:
IMDb – Maersk Alabama movie ‘ Captain Phillips” (2013)