The information on this page has been borrowed from History vs. Hollywood. The intent was not to plagiarize or steal any work, this is not piracy; this wiki is unique in more ways than one.

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Born: Richard Phillips, May 16, 1955

Birthplace: New Hampshire, U.S.A.

Born: Tom Hanks, July 9, 1956

Birthplace: Concord, California, U.S.A.

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Abdi Wali Abdulqadir Muse, ?

Birthplace: Galkayo, Somalia

Born: Barkhad Abdi, 1985

Birthplace: Mogadishu, Somalia

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Born: Andrea Phillips, April 16, 1957

Birthplace: Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Born: Catherine Keener, March 23, 1959

Birthplace: Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

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Born: Michael Chernus Born: Shane Murphy

Ship Rank: Captain

(second in command)

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Born: David Warshofsky, February 23, 1961

Birthplace: San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Born: Mike Perry

Ship Rank: Chief Engineer

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Born: Chris Mulkey, May 3, 1948

Birthplace: Viroqua, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Born: John Cronan

Ship Rank: 3rd Engineer

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Born: Corey Johnson, May 17, 1961

Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

Born: Ken Quinn

Ship Rank: 2nd Mate

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Born: Yul Vazquez, March 18, 1965

Birthplace: Cuba

Born: Frank Castellano

Branch: United States Navy

"The media got everything wrong. I don't know how I could control this, when I'm in a lifeboat and the media is saying I gave myself up for it. ...You know I didn't give myself up. I was already a hostage by them."

- Captain Richard Phillips, Anderson Cooper 360° (AC360°), October 8, 2013

Questioning The Story Edit

Where was the ship when it was attacked? Edit

Through our exploration into the Captain Phillips true story, we learned that the Maersk Alabama container ship had been on a voyage from Salalah, Oman to Mombasa, Kenya when it was attacked by Somali pirates on April 8, 2009. See a map of the ship's course further down this page.

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The Maersk Alabama leaving it's original destination of Mombasa, Kenya, on April 21, 2009, eleven days after it was attacked by pirates.

Was Captain Phillips conducting a security drill at the time of the pirate attack? Edit

Not exactly. It was not a security drill. It was a fire drill. Knowing that the pirates were approaching by boat, Captain Phillips ordered that the yearly fire drill be completed anyway. "They [the boats] were seven miles away," says Phillips. "There was nothing we could do. We didn't know the exact situation." Certain members of the crew disagree, stating that they believe that the pirates were closer than seven miles and that the crew should have been going to their pirate stations. -New York Post

Did Captain Phillips really fake a call to the Navy to deter the pirate ships? Edit

Yes. After observing the pirate boats headed his way, the real Captain Phillips used his radio to fake a call to the U.S. Navy. He disguised his voice to play the role of the Navy responder, hoping that the incoming pirates would overhear the communication and believe that assistance was on the way. It worked and the pirate mothership and two of its accompanying speedboats turned back (in the movie there is one less speedboat), leaving only one pirate speedboat in pursuit of the Alabama.

How many Somali pirates were involved in the hijacking? Edit

When pitting the Captain Phillips true story vs. the movie, it was confirmed that four Somali pirates were involved in the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, the same number shown in the movie.

Did they really use the fire hoses in an effort to repel the pirates? Edit

Yes. Like in the movie, the crew of the Maersk Alabama activated the ship's fire hoses. Captain Phillips fired flares at the pirates and the ship was steered so that it would sway back and forth. However, the pirates eventually still managed to throw up a ladder and board the ship, taking the bridge.

Did the pirates really use AK-47s? Edit

Based on information given by the Navy, all four pirates had weapons that appeared to be AK-47 assault rifles, a Somali pirate's tool of the trade. According to USS Bainbridge commander Frank Castellano, one of the pirates were aiming one of the weapons at Captain Phillips' back in the lifeboat. This action eventually forced the Navy to make the call to gun down the three pirates holding him in captivity.

Did Captain Phillips lock the bridge before the pirates came aboard? Edit

No. The movie opens with Captain Phillips meticulously attending to safety protocols, telling his crew, "Let's tighten up security! I want everything closed, locked, even in port." However, according to Chief Engineer Mike Perry, the real Captain Phillips didn't lock the bridge even when the attacking pirates were known to be on board. "Even at that point he didn't lock 'em," says Perry. Most of the crew members fled below deck and locked themselves in the engine room, remaining there for over twelve hours in 130 degree heat, while Phillips and three other crew members were held at gunpoint. -CNN

Did Captain Phillips really try to tell the pirates that the ship was broken? Edit

In the Captain Phillips movie, Tom Hanks's character tries to tell the pirates that they had pushed the ship too hard and that it was "broken". The Captain Phillips true story reveals that the real-life captain did in fact try to pretend that the ship was broken in order to delay the progress of the Somali pirates. In addition, he also tried to pretend that he didn't understand them.

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A young Richard Phillips Maritime Academy photo, taken in 1979.

Did they really offer the pirates $30,000 from the ship's safe? Edit

Yes. Like in the movie, the real Captain Richard Phillips and several crew members did try to offer the Somalian pirates $30,000 from the ship's safe, but they wanted much more. The pirates still took the money and had it with them when they fled the ship in the lifeboat. However, after the Navy shot the three Somalian pirates and boarded the lifeboat to rescue Captain Phillips, they found no trace of the $30,000. The money has never been recovered.

Did the crew lay down broken glass as a trap for one of the pirates? Edit

No. In the movie, the crew lays down broken glass inside the entrance to the engine room so that one of the pirates will step on it, injuring his bare feet. The injury forces the pirate to turn back, allowing the crew to overtake the other pirate with a knife and keep him as a hostage. In reality, the trap of broken glass never happened. Phillips also never led the pirates below deck to his crew's hiding place. Instead, he sent one of the crew members down to search the ship with one unarmed Somali pirate. Chief Engineer Mike Perry ambushed the pirate with a pocket knife and took him hostage.

Did the crew really take one of the pirates hostage? Edit

Yes. When Somali pirate Abduwali Abdulqadir Muse was searching below deck, Chief Engineer Mike Perry fought with him in the dark of the engine room. Armed with a pocket knife, Perry subdued Muse, badly cutting the pirate's hand before taking him hostage.

Did Captain Phillips volunteer to sacrifice himself to save the lives of his crew? Edit

No. "I didn't give myself up," says Captain Phillips. "I was already hostage." Unlike Tom Hanks's character in the movie, who yells to his fellow crew members, "I gotta get them off this ship!" as he willingly climbs into the Maersk Alabama's lifeboat, the real Captain Phillips never offered to give himself up for his crew. He was already a hostage. Like in the movie, Phillips says he went down to the lifeboat to help the pirates get it started. It was then that they reneged on their deal to release Phillips for Muse, keeping the Captain on board the lifeboat after the crew had released Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse. To that end, some of the crew members see Phillips as more the victim of a botched exchange, rather than the sacrificial hero that the media made him out to be.

"We vowed we were going to take it to our grave," says the Maersk Alabama's Chief Engineer Mike Perry. "We weren't going to say anything, and then we hear this PR stuff coming out about him giving himself up, and he's still hostage. The whole crew's like, 'What!?' Everybody's in shock." -CNN

Did Captain Phillips really say, "If you want to shoot somebody, shoot me!"? Edit

No. The real Captain Richard Phillips never offered to give up his own life for his crew.

Did Abduwali Muse really tell Captain Phillips, "Look at me, I'm the captain now"? Edit

No. This line was adlibbed by actor Barkhad Abdi, there is no evidence that Muse said this on the bridge.

Do the crew members of the Maersk Alabama believe that Captain Phillips is a hero? Edit

No, the majority of them do not believe that Captain Richard Phillips is a hero. In fact, due to the decisions made by Captain Phillips, 11 of the crew members have sued Maersk Line and the Waterman Steamship Corp. for nearly $50 million, citing "willful, wanton and conscious disregard for their safety." They believe that it is the Captain's recklessness that steered the Maersk Alabama into pirate infested waters. "All ships had been warned," says Chief Engineer Mike Perry, referring to a series of seven emails that had been sent to the Alabama by a private maritime security agency. The emails specifically warned of Somali pirate attacks in the area, stating, "...vessels should consider maintaining a distance of more than 600 nautical miles from Somalia coastline..." According to the Alabama's logs, the ship was only about 300 miles offshore. -CNN

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This map shows the actual route (red) that Captain Phillips took on April 9, 2009 out of Salalah, Oman to Mombasa, Kenya vs. the suggested route (green). The yellow circle is where the pirates attacked the ship.

"Captain Phillips did not follow orders, the ship was attacked and he was responsible," says Jimmy Sabga, one of the crew members involved in the lawsuit against Maersk. -Business Insider

In a 2012 deposition that he gave for the lawsuit, Captain Phillips admitted he had read the email warnings. He also admitted that he had kept the warnings to himself. At the time that the hijacking was unfolding off of the Somali coast, his wife Andrea had even told an AP interviewer that she had received an email from her husband in which he said that pirate activity had been picking up in the area. When asked why he didn't move further offshore, Phillips testified, "I don't believe 600 miles would make you safe. I didn't believe 1,200 miles would make you safe. ... As I told the crew, it would be a matter of when, not if. So, we were always in this area, so it didn't, to me, lessen any potential." -CNN

It should be noted that Captain Phillips himself has said that he doesn't consider himself a hero, despite the media portraying him that way, his book being promoted that way, and the movie falsely depicting him offering himself up for his crew.

Did Phillips really try to escape by swimming from the lifeboat? Edit

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U.S. Navy ScanEagle UAV captures a photo of the lifeboat where the pirates are holding Phillips captive on April 9, 2009.

Yes. According to the Captain Phillips true story, he pushed one of the Somali pirates into the water while the pirate was relieving himself off the side of the lifeboat. He then jumped off the lifeboat and began to swim away. However, the moon was so bright in the night sky that the other pirates easily spotted Phillips in the water and fired warning shots over his head, quickly recapturing him. They then beat him and tied him up. Phillips says that they even performed mock executions to toy with his mind.

How many of the Somali pirates were killed? Edit

Like in the movie, snipers from the Navy's famed SEAL Team Six used night-vision goggles to set their sights on the lifeboat and shoot three of the Somali pirates in the head almost simultaneously. The fourth, Abduwali Abdulqadir Muse, had come aboard the destroyer USS Bainbridge to seek medical attention for his badly cut hand and to negotiate the release of Captain Phillips. After his fellow pirates were killed, Muse remained on the Bainbridge and was taken into custody.

Did the real Richard Phillips write a note to his family while he was on the lifeboat? Edit

No, this likely didn't happen. Phillips doesn't mention anything about writing a note to his family like Tom Hank's character does in the movie. However, he does mention praying for his family while he was on the lifeboat.

Did the pirates injure Captain Phillips? Edit

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Captain Richard Phillips waves to the crowd; notice the scars on his wrists where the pirates had tied him up.

Upon his return to the U.S., the only visible injury were the abrasions on his wrists from being tied up (pictured on the right). However, while he was on the lifeboat he had gotten so sick that a Navy doctor had to come aboard to examine him and bring him food. During his time on the lifeboat, Phillips says the pirates beat him and tormented him, firing shots near his head to scare him and pointing an AK-47 assault rifle at his back. It was this last action that prompted Navy SEAL snipers to take out the three pirates that remained on the lifeboat with Phillips, believing that his life was in immediate danger. After returning home, the real Richard Phillips says that he has had nightmares from the psychological stress of the whole ordeal. -CNN

Did the crew of the Maersk Alabama really hide in the engine room after the pirates had boarded the ship? Edit

Not exactly. The film portrays the crew hiding in small groups behind large cylinders that divided the ship's engine room. In actuality, the crew hid in a small safe room near the engine room. It was this room that the crew held injured pirate Abduwali Muse captive while they negotiated a swap with the remaining three pirates on the bridge for Captain Phillips.

How long was Captain Phillips held hostage in the lifeboat? Edit

Although the movie makes it feel like Tom Hanks's character is only held hostage on the Maersk Alabama's lifeboat for about a day and a half, exploring the Captain Phillips true story reveals that the real Richard Phillips was held on the lifeboat for almost five days. He was rescued on Sunday, April 12, 2009 after having been on the lifeboat since Wednesday.

Were the three pirates that were killed by Navy SEAL snipers really named Nour Najee, Adan Bilal, and Walid Elmi? Edit

No. Film director Paul Greengrass had the pirates who were killed renamed for protection of their identities likely out of respect for their relatives in Somalia. The real pirates who were killed on April 12, 2009 in the Gulf of Aden were only 'partially' identified. One of them was named Ali Aden Elmi, the last name of another was Hamac, and the third has not yet been identified in English-language press reports.

What happened to the captured Somali pirate? Edit

Abduwali Abdulqadir Muse was tried as an adult in the U.S. and sentenced to thirty-three years in federal prison. His exact age became a controversial issue during the trial, with his family saying that he was under eighteen and should be tried as a juvenile. However, after giving different ages for himself, he eventually admitted that he was eighteen. According to his attorneys, while in custody, Muse has tried to commit suicide on a number of occasions. The director of a documentary about Muse, titled Smiling Pirate, says that Sony Pictures made several attempts to meet Muse but he declined, believing that they were just going to portray him as the bad guy.

Did Tom Hanks meet with the real Richard Phillips to prepare for the role? Edit

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Captain Richard Phillips (left) poses with Tom Hanks (right), his onscreen counterpart on the cover of the September 22, 2013 issue of Parade Magazine.

Did the Maersk Alabama's crew cooperate with the making of the movie? Edit

Not all of the crew agreed with the movie's version of the story. The ones that were okay with it were paid as little as $5,000 by Sony for the rights to their story, with the agreement that they would never speak publicly to anyone else about what really happened on the ship. -New York Post

Was the real Maersk Alabama container ship used for the Captain Phillips movie? Edit

No. The real Maersk Alabama ship was not used for the making of the movie. Instead, the filmmakers used the Alexander Maersk, a container ship that is identical to the Maersk Alabama. Filming took place off the coast of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea.

Interviews and Related Videos Edit

Captain Richard Phillips Press Conference 4-17-2009

Captain Richard Phillips Press Conference 4-17-2009

Was Captain Phillips a hero?

Was Captain Phillips a hero?

Captain Phillips Trailer 2

Captain Phillips Trailer 2