Captain Phillips Got it Wrong: Six Ways Maersk Risked Lives of Crew

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Captain Phillips Got it WrongEven when Hollywood paints a film as “based on a true story,” viewers should be aware that sometimes Hollywood’s version of the “truth” opts to omit or gloss over certain key facts of a story. A new movie, Captain Phillips, is a prime example.

The film is allegedly based upon a 2009 pirate attack off the coast of Somalia. In the movie, the ship’s captain is portrayed as a hero who risks his own life in order to secure the safety of his crew. It fails, however, to reveal certain details relating to the event that shows Captain Phillips, Maersk Line Limited, and Waterman Steamship Corporation, in fact, placed the lives of the ship’s crew in danger before the attack ever occurred. How exactly did Captain Phillips risk the lives of his crew? The following are six examples:

  1. Captain Phillips willingly ignored at least two separate attacks by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, each occurring within two days of the attack on his ship.
  2. Captain Phillips disregarded a warning issued by official maritime safety groups to stay at least 600 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia due to known pirate activity in the region. The warning specifically noted that pirates were taking ships and their crew hostage.
  3. Captain Phillips sailed his ship within 250 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.
  4. The ship’s owner, Maersk Line Limited, apparently gave official approval of Captain Phillips’ decision to take this dangerous route.
  5. Despite the protestation of the crew relating to the planned dangerous route, Captain Phillips stated that he would not let pirates scare him or force him to sail further from the coast.
  6. Sailing within the recommended safety area would have added an extra day to the trip by using extra fuel and manpower. Maersk Line Limited and Waterman Steamship Corporation, the crew members’ employer, were aware of and approved of Captain Phillips’ plan to take the ship through dangerous territory in order to eliminate those added costs.

The real heroes of the pirate attack are the Navy personnel who bailed Captain Phillips out of his poor decisions and the brave crewmembers who--unlike Captain Phillips--actually fought back against the pirates.

VB Attorneys are spearheading the fight against Maersk Line Limited and Waterman Steamship Corporation to get the true facts out and to defend the honor of the brave crewmembers who risked their lives.

For more information about how our team of knowledgeable legal professionals can help you after an offshore injury, contact our office today at 877-724-7800. We are pleased to offer a completely free, no-obligation case evaluation.


Brian Beckcom
Highest Possible 10/10 AVVO ranking. Husband. Father. Fisherman.
Business and governments have been sacraficing their teams to achieve the team goal since conception of the first business/government. I am certain that all members of the Maesrk crew (whom elected to be aboard and photographed) were part of this team and knew the goal and possible risks prior to boarding. If I choose to join a triathlete event, I accept the risk surrounding the event or I could choose to stay home and knit a sweater with less risk. I believe their concerns deserve their day in court, as all disagreements deserve, especially if they believe the decisions were made unethically outside of normal written procedures. However, the risk of choosing mariner shipping is wholely the responsibility of the individual as they could choose to be a cashier at their neighborhood store, which has less risk of Somali pirates and all the other mariner risks that may occur. I will always see Capt Phillips as a hero for not snitching on the location of his crew and luring the pirates away from the ship - whether it was due to a good or bad decision on his part. His crew must have felt the same as the Maesrk followed him, instead of heading to safer waters, leaving Phillips behind and forever lost.
Posted by ElectricLynn on November 9, 2013 at 07:56 AM
It's not surprising that Hollywood scriptwriters prefer a good story over the truth when making a film "based" on a true story.
Posted by Royce on October 27, 2013 at 11:54 PM

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