Captain Phillips' heroism denied by crew

While director Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks' depiction of the events aboard the Maersk Alabama gets respectable reviews, it seems crew-members of the ship have a differing opinion.

Several have called into question the drama in 'Captain Phillips', notably the behaviour of the Captain himself.

A lawsuit was filed just days after the hijacking in 2009, claiming negligence against Phillips, saying that he ignored warnings about piracy and put the crew in danger himself by sailing too close to the Somali coast.

One of the crew-members has now spoken to the New York Post about his side of the story.

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“Phillips wasn’t the big leader like he is in the movie,” said the man, who has remained anonymous for legal reasons.



The claimant added that Phillips was known for his reputation for being 'sullen and self-righteous' and that 'No one wants to sail with him'.

11 members of the crew came together to sue Maersk Line and the Waterman Steamship Corp. for nearly $50 million (£31 million), accusing Phillips of 'wilful, wanton and conscious disregard for their safety'.

“The crew had begged Captain Phillips not to go so close to the Somali coast,” added Deborah Waters, the lawyer representing the crew-members. “He told them he wouldn’t let pirates scare him or force him to sail away from the coast.”

The anonymous crew-member claims that Phillips ignored a plan previously put in place that advised if pirates were to get close to the ship, that the crew would cut the power and lock themselves below deck.

“He didn’t want anything to do with it, because it wasn’t his plan,” said the crew member. “He was real arrogant.”

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Instead of keeping 600 miles from the Somali coast, as advised, it's reported that Phillips was just 235 miles from the coast, leaving the ship susceptible to the attack.

It's said that there were also two attacks, not one, and when the first was about to happen, Phillips was putting the crew through a routine drill and continued despite their protests.

“We said, ‘You want us to knock it off and go to our pirate stations?’” adds 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.”

It's said that among the key heroes of the siege was the ship's chief engineer Mike Perry, who seized one of the pirates, using him as a bargaining chip.

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Perry told CNN in 2010: “We vowed we were going to take it to our graves, that we weren’t going to say anything. Then we hear this p.r. stuff about [Phillips] giving himself up...  and the whole crew’s like, ‘What?’”


“It is galling for them to see Captain Phillips set up as a hero,” the claimant's lawyer Waters added. “It is just horrendous, and they’re angry.”

Check out the full trailer for the film below...