On October 11, Captain Phillips will open in movie theatres across America. The film tells the story of a brave sea captain, portrayed by Tom Hanks, who protected his crew against dangerous Somali pirates. The movie is based on a true story, but allegedly gets the facts wrong.
Nationally recognized attorney Brian Beckcom states that the movie has been fictionalized, and believes that it ignores the true heroes. “I want moviegoers to know that the true heroes are the Navy Marksmen and Navy personnel who bailed out the shipping company and Captain Phillips, and the brave crewmembers who fought back against the pirates.”
For over two and a half years, approximately half the crew have been in a legal battle, attempting to reveal the true story of the Maersk Alabama hijacking. However, Maersk, Waterman, and Richard Phillips have all filed motions to gag the crew’s lawyers and hidden sworn testimony and official documents from the public eye.
The reason behind this is not known; however, all parties agree on the basic facts: in April 2009, cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama was sailing along the coast of Africa when it was hijacked by pirates. The captain of the ship, Richard Phillips, was taken hostage on a small lifeboat and finally rescued by members of the U.S. Navy days later.
While this event certainly makes for an exciting movie, could it have been avoided altogether? Nine of the crewmembers have filed a lawsuit stating just that: the pirate hijacking would have never taken place if not for the negligence of the captain, shipping company, and ship operator.
“Our firm is speaking out on behalf of the men and women who are often forgotten about on these ships,” said Brian Beckcom, the Texas attorney representing the nine crew members. “The brave crewmembers of the Maersk Alabama were terrorized. But they fought back against the pirates, even though their only weapons were pipes and spoons and makeshift items while the pirates had machine guns.”
The lawsuit, which is slated to go to trial in December, argues that the shipping company should have had more security measures in place and that the boat should have never been so close to the Somali coast to begin with. At the time of the hijacking, the boat was less than 300 nautical miles from the coast of Somali even though the US Maritime Administration and NATO had recently issued warnings to go no closer than 600 nautical miles from shore due to the threat of pirate attacks—and even though there had been multiple piracy incidents in the days and weeks before the Alabama was taken.
In order to better inform the public about the truth behind Captain Phillips, as well as the details of the lawsuit, Brian Beckcom will be holding a press conference at the office of VB Attorneys at 12 Noon Central on Thursday, October 10, 2013.