Friday, June 8, 2012

Ship Crew sue Ship Owner for $50m

Three years ago, Maersk Alabama was sailing too close to the pirate-infested shore of Somalia when it was attacked by Somali pirates who took as their hostage the ship’s skipper Captain Richard Phillips. The incident ended through the intervention of the elite US Navy Seals who shot dead three pirates resulting in the release of Captain Phillips. This 2009 maritime drama is the subject of Phillips’ book entitled “A Captain’s Duty” of which a movie starring Tom Hanks will be made. Apparently, the hero of the story is Phillips himself but if the crew members were to be believed, it was Phillips who put them all at risk. According to them, Phillips repeatedly ignored warnings about pirate activity and sailed too close to the forbidden waters. Hence, the crew members are now engaged in a real life mutiny - a legal mutiny. They claim that their lives were endangered by the Ship Captain, the official representative of the Ship Owner. Eleven out of twenty crew members are seeking $50 million in damages and according to their lawyer Deborah Waters, “ Phillips and Mersk put the men in harm’s way, in spite of warnings to keep them out of the pirate-infested waters. They did so for financial gain.”  
By: Eduardo R. Meneses Jr.

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