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Re: Capt. Phillips' Hero Status Put Into Question
Phillips was interviewed (I think on 60 Minutes?), as were a couple of crew members. Phillips admitted he had received an email, warning him of pirates and advising him to stay well offshore, that he ignored the warning and that he did not share the information in the email with the crew.
Phillips said in the interview (and this was also in the movie) that he didn't think being 600nm or even 1,200nm from shore would make any difference. Don't pirate vessels, like all boats that run solely under power, have a limit as to how far they can travel? I wonder if these pirate vessels have the tankage that allows them to travel 2,500+nm?
I remember when the incident was initially broadcast, the media reported that Phillips had sacrificed himself by convincing the pirates to take him as hostage to save the crew. The movie showed Phillips entering the liferaft to instruct the pirates as to how to operate the vessel, while the crew held their pirate hostage at knifepoint. Then the crew releases their hostage who then enters the liferaft and decides to take Phillips hostage, much to everyone's surprise. Even kids know that you make a hostage exchange in such a way as to ensure something like that doesn't happen. Did it happen that way? I don't know. But it made Phillips, or the crew, look really dumb.
That was the first time I had heard or seen any version of the story other than that Phillips had volunteered himself as their hostage to save the crew. The crew members interviewed all said they were shocked to see Phillips portrayed as a hero. So it looks like the media created that story and ran with it. To the best of my knowledge, the movie was based on the book, so Phillips didn't adhere to the media story that made him look like a hero.
In the movie, the crew was also pressuring Phillips to go further out to sea. That's when he refused and replied no distance from shore would matter. At that time they had just had a close call with the same pirates who eventually boarded a day or two later.
Obviously the movie, the book, the media and reality may all tell different stories. But Phillips did admit he received notice to stay well offshore and that he ignored that warning. The crew claimed Phillips was trying to make port earlier than scheduled and that if they followed the original route the ship would have made port on time. According to the crew, there was no need to shorten the route.