Spinnaker staff went to the cinema this week to see Captain Phillips, the Hollywood portrayal of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama.
Great film. Thoroughly enjoyed it in a suspense-thriller kind of way, but I couldn't help walking out of the cinema angry. Very angry in fact.
Why so many missed opportunities for goodness sake? Why no message during the closing credits to highlight the extent of the piracy problem, to explain that most captured seafarers don't have the US Navy rushing to their rescue? And why no more on Somalia itself and why it's an international problem? None of this need have detracted from the thriller being made, but it might have made it a bit more 'helpful'.
I chaired a manning and training conference two weeks ago at which Roy Paul, the Programme Director at the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Fund, reduced the audience of seasoned shipping professionals to tears when he ran through case studies of what really happened to crews held captive that MPHRF has helped. A thousand days in captivity, only to be dependent upon charity to get home is a very different story indeed.
Roy played the audience a clip from A Hijacking, the Danish film in which the MV Rozen is hijacked. We haven't seen this yet – our copy has arrived and we'll be having a Spinnaker film evening very soon – but the reviews and the clip Roy showed us, reveal a very different film. One reviewer says "Playing out as much in the boardrooms of the Danish parent company as it is on the cargo vessel itself, the film is a real eye-opener: when this stuff happens, there's no-one to call for help … A Hijacking is an exercise in precise filmmaking." Another said "As well as the film's almost documentary realism (it's required viewing for shipping personnel), here the brief but telling extras show off Lindholm's dedication to accuracy." So accurate in fact that several of the actors in the film are actually the crew of the Rozen.
Get a copy of A Hijacking from Amazon (it's cheap as chips), get the popcorn out, and have a film evening of your own. Good staff bonding and good eye-opening awareness training.
And watch out for The Smiling Pirate, a documentary being made about Muse, the pirate who was jailed for 33 years for the Maersk Alabama hijacking. You can read about it here.
– Phil Parry