Piracy is a very serious threat to seafarers.
To give you an idea how deadly it is when pirates attack a ship, here’s a case of piracy, Abduwali Muse & his cohorts did to the US containership Maersk Alabama.
In April 2009, Muse led his men to invade MV Maersk Alabama. Though he failed on his first attempt, he never stopped over 18 hours ‘till his group boarded the vessel sailing 235 miles off coast of Somalia.
I think it would be more interesting if we discuss Muse’s rudeness as shown in big screens. By far, the thriller/drama movie ‘Captain Phillips’ is real entertaining.
Select scenes from the epic movie show pirates act barbaric, the kind of people one should not play fire with.
First, while chasing the Maersk Alabama, Muse and his men open fired to its Captain and one crew whose peeping on the ship’s bridge wing at their boat. His group was trying to approach the ship closer that time.
Second, though Maersk Alabama took evasive maneuvers and had installed fire hoses around the ship to deter the boarding, the pirates unfortunately were able to trespass her. Muse, holding his high powered gun on this photo, was the first pirate to get onboard.
Third, his group eventually reached the bridge where Captain Phillips and two more crewmembers were stationed during the attack. On their first meeting, Muse calmly assured the captain that nobody gets hurt if given the ship’s money.
“Captain, relax, nobody gets hurt. We want the money, when we get paid, everything will be okay.” He reasoned-out.
But after some minutes, he grabbed the public address from the talking captain and announced that other hiding crewmembers should come-out and surrender or else, they kill at gunpoint their three hostage-crews.
Fourth, ten million not thirty thousand US dollars ransom money, people. Capt. Phillips asked fellow hostage-crew Kenny of the thirty (30) thousand dollars ship’s money kept on the safe. The latter affirmed. He then quickly offered it all to Muse.
“We got uh..we got 30 thousand dollars on the safe.. Yeah, yeah as what I said we got thirty thousand dollars…It’s all yours.” He said in a shaky voice.
“30 thousand dollars? What do am I? Do I look like a beggar?” Muse, clad in a grungy fisherman’s dress, retorted with a trying hard American accent.
Lastly, Muse gave Captain Phillips a pseudonym of Irish, and he showed him appalling authority.
“Hey, look at me! I’m the captain now!” he shouted Captain Phillips when the latter resisted to obey
More pirates’ brutality were shown in the film, and it’s really disturbing to note that they prey on seafarers, the men who transport valuable goods and commodities from coasts to coasts and keep the world’s economy afloat in general. I stayed almost half a year in West Africa, and intelligence reports we received from time to time show that pirates’ fangs are for real.
Muse, the sole survivor of four pirate hijackers, has the desire to live a better life in America [reason why thirty thousand US dollars wasn’t enough?). On the film, his admiration for Starbucks, Uber, Coca-cola, Trump and other American stuff was perhaps summed by his short dialogue, “I love America!”
Fortunate enough to reach USA alive, he was charged however with five criminal counts after US SEALs and NAVY forces nabbed him aboard destroyer USS Baindbridge. Jessica Hatcher of Newsweek writes verbatim about his arrest; He languished in a US prison cell, making history as the first person charged with piracy in an American court in over a century.
Justice for perplexed Maersk Alabama crew was served, finally.
On the other hand, did you know that the convincing portrayal of Abduwali Muse in the movie Captain Phillips has catapulted Somali-American Barkhad Abdi to Hollywood?
The worldwide search for the lead antagonist role, which was reportedly participated by more than 700 people in Minneapolis, was bagged by Abdi. Since his debut in the silver screen, he snatched the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a supporting role, Black Reel Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, Black Reel Award for Best Breakthrough Performance- Male, Capri Breakout Actor Award and London Film Critics’ Circle Award for Supporting Actor of the Year. Not to mention that he had been nominated for the Academy, Golden Globe and other prestigious awards, all for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture category.
Now tell me, who wouldn’t want to rub elbows with Barkhad Abdi, like as close as this?
Filipino seafarers Mark Revilla Carillo and friends had showed us recently how to befriend an award winning ‘pirate’. And guess what, Abdi was even shooting his new film, ‘The extraordinary journey of the Fakir’ aboard their ship, MV Peak Bilbao!
Mark is working as third officer and they are currently in Belgium. Late night in June 29, I asked him how he finds ‘that familiar pirate face who tortured and scared Captain Phillips to run for his life’.
“Mr. Barkhad is very opposite on his character at Captain Phillips the movie, He is very friendly, really.” Mark replied to my message with a grinning emoticon.
“I’m calling him idol. Hahaha then he smiled. Actually he always smile.” he added.
Asked if Barkhad Abdi has any thoughts of sailors, particularly Filipinos seafarers, Mark said,
“May sinabi siya kanina sir na mahirap pala maging seaman based from his last movie sa Captain Phillips. Hanga daw siya sa mga Pinoy Seaman,”
(He said earlier sir that to be a seafarer is difficult, based on what he experienced in his last movie the Captain Phillips. He admire Filipino seafarers, too.)
Mark then sent a fresh selfie, noting that Adbi was concerned of their rest periods.
“Eto ngayon sir, hahaha. Parang tropa lang si idol.
“ Nagtanong siya samin kung antok na daw kami. “
(Here we are now, sir. Hahaha. He [Abdi] seemed to be our old friend. He asked us if we’re sleepy.)
I continued interrogating Mark and yours truly later found out that when a film shooting is set on a ship, the ships’ crew are deeply involved.
“Work kami from morning to afternoon. Tapos at night sila mag-shoot. Yun lang puyatan din mga ship’s crew kasi assist sa kanila. Gwardyahan sir.”
(We work from morning to afternoon. They shoot at night time. Hence, ship’s crew has to stay awake, man their posts and assist them [Abdi’s team] when required.)
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What can you say about Barkhad Abdi’s success? Or do you have any message for our seafarers who might be poor victims of piracy like the crewmembers of MV Maersk Alabama? Whatever your thoughts are, please share by writing a comment below! 🙂
Photos of Barkhad Abdi & Tom Hanks, of Captain Phillips movie, courtesy: Sony Pictures/Columbia Entertainment.