I attended an opening night showing of “Captain Phillips” last week. The movie appears to document events as Richards reported them (in his book, “A Captain’s Duty”), albeit in Hollywood time. For a 3rd party independent comparison of the movie versus published accounts, click here.
But rather than pick apart the sensational aspects of the film, I prefer to talk about the realism of how the maritime industry was depicted. The movie presented a brief glimpse into the challenges of an oceangoing crew juggling shore-side family obligations with life at sea. It presented the often real tension between labor and management. It highlighted the importance of our merchant mariners, and the majesty of our cargo vessels. And it presented the teamwork, hard work, and challenges associated with moving cargo and humanitarian aid from the far reaches of the earth, often through dangerous waters.
So, since this blog is about our industry, I submit… Captain Phillips (the movie) provides the maritime industry with unprecedented PR value, as our industry’s future best and brightest get a brief glimpse into the world of the merchant mariner - albeit for just a few hours. In fact, I don’t recall any other recent pop culture glimpse into the maritime industry that has the potential to reach as many new recruits as this film, both in the US and globally.
So enjoy the film, and enjoy our industry’s 15 minutes of fame (or more specifically, 134 minutes). And while the real incident has its share of controversy, I hope you will agree that the movie paints a strong picture of a dedicated crew committed to their duties at sea.
In my next blog post I will explore the Maersk Alabama incident a bit further from a response perspective, and discuss current AIS and SSAS best practices as they apply to anti-piracy measures and other incidents at sea. Until then, enjoy the movie, and if you think I am (proverbially) missing the boat, let me know.