Irish American Captain Shane Murphy, who took charge after his boss Captain Richard Phillips was kidnapped by Somali pirate in 2009, has given the newly released Tom Hanks movies “Captain Phillips” two thumbs up.
The movie, already being tipped for Oscar wins this season, is based on the real-life events surrounding the 2009 attempted seizure of the Maersk Alabama off the coast of Somalia. Many of the ship’s crew are now suing Phillips who they claim he deliberately sailed the ship into harm’s way to shorten their trip to Mombasa and save money.
However Murphy says the movie aptly depicts the terror the crew members faced during the hostage situation. Murphy and the rest of the crew were also consulted before the movie was made.
He said “You know they took some of it and made changes for entertainment purposes and hopefully it's just good fun and everybody enjoys it.”
Murphy, whose mother Marianne wanted him to be a lawyer, had a walk-on part in the Kevin Costner movie, “Thirteen Days”, about the Cuban missile crisis.
He played a ship’s radio officer in the film and he later joked with his mother that he should have played the role of President Kennedy – “I’m handsome and Irish,” he said.The movie isnto Murphy's first brush with fame.
Speaking to ABC6 Murphy described the horror and drama that unfolded on the deck of the Alabama as the pirates attempted to take over. He said “You know I was standing there, talking to Captain Phillips, drinking coffee, having our morning discussion and about 20 minutes later, locked in my office with gunshots out the door.”
Murphy explained that the pirates hoped to get millions by ransoming the ship back to its owners. What the pirates didn’t realize was that Murphy is well-steeped in anti-pirate tactics. In fact Murphy's father, Professor Joseph Murphy, teaches a course in how to repel pirates at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and his son is a graduate of the academy.
Once the pirates were spotted the crew alerted the US navy and disabled the boat's engine before the pirates took control of the ship. When the pirates boarded, they took one captive and hid on the boat for 12 hours giving the US navy time to send the US destroyer USS Bainbridge to help.
By this stage the pirates had fled to the Alabama's lifeboat with Captain Philips as hostage. The pirates' lifeboat was apparently out of gas. The USS Bainbridge arrived near the Maersk Alabama and the lifeboat with the pirates and Phillips.
Murphy, who is married with two children, delivered a lecture on anti-pirate tactics shortly before setting sail on the Maersk Alabama.
Just days before the takeover he posted on his Facebook page “These waters are infested with pirates that hijack ships daily. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before my number comes up.
Here's the crew including Shane Murphy on the deck of Maersk Alabama after the release of Captain Phillips at Mobasa Port, in Kenya.
Here’s the trailer for the “Captain Phillips” movie starring Tom Hanks: