The Maersk Alabama ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in April 2009. What led up to the Maersk Alabama hijacking?

Although credited with saving the lives of his crew in the upcoming film, Captain Phillips, a lawsuit filed by approximately half the crew aims to show the opposite is true. Captain Richard Phillips’ crew that was on board the Maersk Alabama say that their lives were put in jeopardy because of decisions Phillips made.

Here are three ways Captain Richard Phillips jeopardized the safety of the vessel that ultimately caused the Maersk Alabama to be hijacked:

  • Captain Phillips risked lives when he ignored multiple warnings of pirate attacks in nearby waters. Instead, he sailed the Maersk Alabama into dangerous waters.
  • Captain Phillips claimed that he was not scared of pirates and ignored pleas from the crew to avoid the area notorious for pirate attacks.
  • Captain Phillips sailed the ship approximately 300 nautical miles closer to the coast of Somalia than was deemed safe.

Although the situation ended well, with all of the crew and the Captain being rescued by United States Navy Seals, nine crew members claim that the Captain and the shipping company acted irresponsibly by putting them in harm's way to begin with.This is a far cry from the depiction of heroism in the upcoming film that shows Captain Phillips offering himself up as a hostage if the pirates let his crew go. Had Captain Phillips heeded all warnings, his crew would not have had to endure the emotional and physical trauma of the Maersk Alabama hijacking.

So, as often happens, Hollywood takes liberties with the facts, the brave crewmembers and members of the U.S. Navy are largely forgotten, the the Captain gets a book and movie deal.

Brian Beckcom
Highest Possible 10/10 AVVO ranking. Husband. Father. Fisherman.