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 I went up for my watch early.  c                        !  "  =    #" Chief Mate Shane Murphy  !! Sean Flynn November 18. 2009 $% &'()*+. and they gave up the chase one by . there's no need to say where we are and what's required: early observation and notification. was up there already. In his night orders from a few hours earlier. Call me if in doubt or if needed. he had written: "After today's incident. Richard Phillips. like I always do." About twelve hours before. The captain. The seas were rough. though. Keep a wary eye. in the afternoon. pirates had come after us in three little skiffs launched from a mother ship. We're in Apache territory with no cavalry in sight. That wasn't a good sign.

And now we had a ping on our radar. and I wanted them to know we saw them coming. one short²the alarm signal for a security situation. I guess. one long. four men on board and moving fast. just announce that they're coming for you. r)(-. went to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to become an officer. We were doing eighteen knots." I thought: Now is my time to be measured. The pirates had stayed just out of radar range with their mother ship and then launched the skiff. no one around to help. I was yelling to anyone who could hear. their boat was off the twenty-four-mile radar altogether. changed course a bit. And they were hailing us on the VHF radio. but eventually those guys gave up and went back to the mother ship as well. Merchant Marine. to the second.)/(. a sleek fiberglass skiff with an outboard engine. Captain Phillips. In less than an hour. Stop ship. We increased speed. They got within a mile. At six forty-eight. and had even filed my paperwork to become a captain²which I've since become." That's how they do it. I even put a comment up on my Facebook page: "You measure a man by how he acts in times of crisis. I had a feeling my number was going to get called. not in times of prosperity. Every morning it's the same time. the 200th anniversary of the founding of the U. Before this voyage in these pirate- infested waters. I was going down to the main deck when the bells sounded: one long. which is almost impossible to pick up until it's on top of you. You could set your watch by it. I sometimes think the sea was my destiny: I was born the son of a captain on June 12. and the sea was flat glass. I'd started as a mess cook. At that point. who'd left the bridge at about four twenty after we'd put some distance between us and the pirates. This is Somali pirate. there wasn't much to do but get ready. Fucking pirate attack²it's weird. But the pirates want the element of surprise. came back up for his coffee at exactly six thirty. The sun was up now.one until there was only a lone boat pursuing us. . I went out on deck and fired two red parachute flares at the skiff. and they were so close and coming so fast I could see them with my naked eye. The nearest U. I picked up a faint contact on the radar three and a half miles out. I grabbed the binoculars and found it in the near distance. worked my way up. on another ship.S. and the skiff was doing twenty-six. but I almost expected it.S. and there's a boat full of men with guns getting closer and closer. I put down the binoculars. "This is real! It's not a drill! Get to your stations now!" . "Stop ship. It's a helpless feeling: You're surrounded by 360 degrees of water. Navy ship was 400 miles away. and the pirates quickly fell back. Not that I expected they'd do much. 1975. one short.

Mike Perry. Company policy forbade firearms. except to try to repel the pirates or gather intelligence²anything. just the night before. shooting the locks off the ladders so they could get up to the bridge. because the insurance premiums go up if there are weapons on board. In fact. "Stay calm. "They're on the bridge. Or sinking into a watery grave. about 300 feet. But I can say now that if we could have fired a couple of warning shots. one in my office on the main deck and the other across from the galley. pulled me aside.There are two muster stations where we'd gather for emergencies." He was right. I knew the stacks of cargo containers would give me cover. wide open with no cover. to show leadership. basically." I climbed up to the A deck and kept close to the front of the house²what we call the tall part at the stern. third mate Colin Wright. We told the captain we'd stay out roving. and then my chair and a bale of razor wire that was waiting to be installed to keep pirates from boarding the ship in the first place. to keep my ass from being taken hostage and sitting in Somalia for five months. Four other men²Captain Phillips. I heard gunshots on the deck outside. there's a path that runs along each side of the cargo hatches so you can walk the whole length of the ship. but I was trying to get myself ready for a fight. They're trying to shoot their way in. But that left the stretch between those holds. and the farthest. Minutes later." he whispered. Below me. It also protects the seamen from liability. with the crew quarters and mess hall²so no one could see me from above. had containers standing four high. and sailors ATM Reza and Cliff Lacon²were on the bridge. . on the main deck. These guys are already shooting. As chief mate. I shut my office door. I could tell the eight guys in my office were scared. The bosun. I got a broomstick and snapped it in half. I realized we had to think our way out of the problem. number 1. and I decided I needed a place to hide. number 5. The pirates were outside. the third engineer had finished welding its top hatch so it could be locked from the inside. I was punching the walls and screaming. Only a couple of minutes after the general alarm. Will Rios. and I'm standing in my office with a broomstick? It turned out they weren't coming for me. too. those clowns would've turned around and picked on the next guy. psyching myself up. I thought. "Use your head. tossed my desk against it. but we were sailing light: The nearest hatch. That left me and the chief engineer. They've got the bridge. we heard Captain Phillips on our portable radios: "Shots fired! Shots fired!" The pirates were shooting from their skiff. Fourteen of the crew were sent down to the steering room. What the fuck? I said to myself. I heard a lot of yelling. was also stacked with containers. a small compartment inside the engine room that we'd retrofitted into a safe room. I was the one people looked at to set an example. because I knew we weren't going to shoot our way out of it: We didn't have any guns. I was going to have to run like hell. shoot a fisherman by accident and you could get strung up in the streets of Yemen. I was scared. I didn't have a plan. Captain Phillips came on my radio.

I felt the boat lurch hard to one side. I told the captain to tell the pirates we had only nineteen crew. but the pirates weren't getting off our boat. and hid behind the massive roll of cable the crane uses. I didn't turn around. Colin Wright and ATM Reza were walking toward the port side. There were two men on board. was down in the steering room swinging the rudder. They were trapped. ')(-. Then it rocked back. Maybe we were hostages. the crew belowdecks shut everything down²the engines. No shots. I'd think about pirates. Twenty minutes had passed since the first two pirates boarded the ship. too. dressed in ratty T-shirts and carrying AK-47's. I opened a hatch. easygoing Texan named Matt Fisher. I keyed my radio to tell Captain Phillips what I could see. Once I'd caught my breath. because he'd been shot in the head in World War II. that way. Whenever I ran laps on the deck. I'd have a clear view to the bridge. I got to the containers at the forward hold. The !labama slowly came to a stop until she was just sitting there. but he kicked up so much seawater that the little skiff got swamped and capsized. who used to take me out on his lobster boat when I was still in diapers. panting. either.rates from climbing the ladder. like a ghost ship.I stood against the house. I took a breath. melting in my black sweats and T-shirt. and then jumped to the main deck and started running. After that. The idea was to leave me out of the count so the pirates wouldn't be looking for a twentieth crewman. ducked into the shadows. The pirates couldn't see me. barefoot. I'd been on the !labama for a year. I could keep prowling around until I figured out a way to fuck up their operation. drifting and silent. I'd made this sprint a million times. one forward and one aft. but I could see everything that was happening on the bridge. So in my head. He had severe brain damage. I knew what was going on. The two pirates could hear what we were saying. the clothes I'd slept in. twenty degrees the other way. and I figured that if I got up on one. but that doesn't mean they could understand. a big. Once I was in the cab. One of the pirates was pointing an AK-47 at their backs. . I could see the pirates' skiff at midship. I saw movement up by the house. They're about a hundred feet tall. that we use to lift cargo. ')*+. He was trying to keep the other two pi. No way that's going to happen to me. and I'd crawled every inch of that ship. He was forcing them to rig the pilot ladder²a rope ladder that goes over the side²so the last two pirates could climb up. time seemed to slow down. I worked my way to the port side. As I got ready to make my move. He understood right away. everything. I watched it float away. the electrical. No one had seen me. I thought about my grandfather. so we could communicate in our Boston slang and those guys would have no idea what was going on. climbed out on top. I told myself. cleared my mind. It didn't work. The captain speaks even faster than me²and that's saying something²and we're both from New England. The first engineer. There are two cranes on deck.

He's an older guy. that's a miserable place to be. I'm sure it helped keep him steady and calm that day. and all the way to the hatch right next to the house." But he hadn't said the code word. "They want to see somebody." the captain said over the radio. I started getting antsy up in the crane. and then we started making plans. Mike Perry's voice came on the radio. They'd sent Colin Wright. But there wasn't much we could do in broad daylight against four guys with assault rifles. He dropped into one of the tunnels that run belowdecks. and the sun was climbing higher. to get the rest of the crew. An hour on the crane and we were sweating pretty badly. "they're gonna start shooting people. and you could tell it was going to be a scorcher of a day. and real serious about his Mormon faith. But then they didn't come back. I went down into the tunnels. I stuffed those in my sock. In the forward bosun shop. and the air was still. "One down. I wasn't going to be the one to start now. and I was getting dehydrated. Then I got a roll of duct tape and a few chisels that would make decent stabbing weapons." ." he said. We knew the crew in the safe room had to be miserable. and there's no real ventilation." I found out later why the pirates were getting panicky. in his sixties. they allow you to get anywhere on the ship without getting soaked. I decided to move. In a situation like this. The temperature was already getting into the 90s. now they let Mike and me move around without being seen. It's at least twenty degrees hotter in there. My whole life I'd been told. the pirates sent the helmsman and one of their own guys down. if the captain said "Come on out" or "It's all clear. the third mate. "This is getting serious. but to look at him you would swear he was in his forties²in good shape. The sky was clear. In the tunnels on my way back to the crane. it would keep the sun off my face. It looks like something a ninja would wear. smart. "The United States doesn't negotiate for hostages. . Minutes ticked by. and he didn't want anyone to come out. too." it could be under some kind of duress. "If they don't see someone in five minutes. When he didn't come back. I heard Captain Phillips's voice come over the radio. Mike decided to climb down and see if he could get some water to the safe room. I put on a Nomex hood from a fire suit. We decided to wait until dark and then attack with whatever we could muster. In bad weather." And the way I saw it. But they didn't send a pirate to guard him. Mike and I set an alternate frequency on the radio so we could talk without the pirates listening in. so I thought it might make me look a little scarier. At about nine o'clock. because. make no mistake. Plus. so Colin just went and hid. Mike Perry climbed up to join me.After about a half hour.

Mayday. I've got your radio"²and put it with the other papers scattered on his desk. The lifeboat is thirty feet long and enclosed. plain and simple. tied him up with wire restraints. "There's no one in there. followed by the pirate's. and dragged him into the safe room. gagged him." I said. "Mayday. just large enough to get supplies down. but that meant voices and footsteps carried in the breezeless ocean air. Mayday. Any vessels in the area come back on channel 16. so I went there after I dropped the supplies. like a big. bright orange football that rescue crews could see against the water. which send out a distress signal pinpointing their location]. I abandoned the crane and went to check the guys in the safe room. and I snuck up to the hospital room to get it. They were all in bad shape.A surge of energy went through me." one of them said. that the bridge was on the same channel I had to use. I was pumped. I crawled inside and started looking.000. American crew. But then it was like we'd intercepted a touchdown pass and taken it the other way. I grabbed the captain's radio and his cell phone and then scribbled a note²"Captain. U. We've been taken hostage by four Somali pirates. I set off the epirb [the emergency position-indicating radio beacons. and the second engineer. I figured the pirates couldn't read English. ambushed him in a dark passageway. /$. I opened it and saw Ken Quinn. I had to make the call. The problem was. Didn't matter. I thought there might be a VHF radio in the lifeboat so I could broadcast a Mayday. They'd gotten the pirate who'd gone down with the helmsman. about $30. The pirates had gotten the cash." . looking up at me. we've got one in the steering room. the momentum changed." They were right outside the lifeboat.S. I couldn't find the VHF radio. I thought we were screwed. with a barefoot pirate holding a gun on him. I climbed to the top of the crane and got ready to send a Mayday over the VHF. The ship was dead quiet and kind of eerie with all the systems shut down. in the house²a long way to go without being seen. In that second. I ducked behind a seat as the captain's head poked in." There was a case of Sprite in my office. Until that minute. and the empty money bag was on the floor. I heard him say. "We got no water. "See? No one in here. I made it up to the captain's quarters. but I remembered that one was kept in the captain's room. The safe was open. There's a small hatch on deck that drops ten or twelve feet into the safe room. We were going on the offensive. "This is the =aersk !labama. Will Rios. I brought that back and dropped it down. no air.-flagged ship. Which was good: I heard Captain Phillips coming. though." I listened to them walk away. but I had no choice. "We're dying down here. Then someone asked for the medical bag. That was four decks up. Dick Matthews.

A minute later." "You're in big trouble." "No. All they wanted was their friend back. pal. I repeated the Mayday. He said. Not a bad adventure for the day. I'd kept messing on the VHF for a while." he said." the pirate said. like a gang sign. like. I went inside to get the food and water." I knew their English wasn't good. Three long hours passed. smoking cigarettes and smiling. "I'm your worst fucking nightmare. dead in the water. I pulled up my sleeve and showed him one of my tattoos. They called up and said they needed some fuel and supplies lowered. "You can leave now. "Who is this?" I thought for a second. this is important. "I'm Somali Mafia. fuck you. but everyone in Africa knows Obama. and then one of the pirates got on the radio. I pulled that big ninja hood off my head and just glared down at them." I said. because the rescue boat is an open boat. Captain Phillips came on our radios. and leave. I was trying to scare them like in a bad episode of Scooby-Doo. but we got $30. "this is a coalition warship.000. One of the pirates started jawing at me. like a Boston Whaler. If they hadn't ended up . The pirates were going to take our rescue boat. And I guess it worked. I looked out and saw them drifting. a small outboard." I said." That was a trick Captain Phillips had taught me²have a conversation with yourself so the intruders would think the navy was coming." he said. Take the lifeboat.The pirates on the bridge were staring at the radio. I went down to give them some fuel and got a good look at the pirates. and laughed at him." I said. "Fuck Obama. you talk to me now. *$." I said. Now. and if you want to see your friend again. we didn't get the $3 million ransom." "Fuck you. and that's when I revealed myself. but this is an American ship. almost relaxed. Captain Phillips called on the radio. "Obama's coming to get you. "Me. As the captain and the pirates were going down to the deck. talking in a thick southern accent. Okay. I stood out on the wing. The rescue boat was in the water with the captain and three pirates aboard." I said. take the money." "Fuck you. "The engine just stalled. "=aersk !labama. too. We read you and are en route to your position. "I'm in charge of this ship now. Mike Perry and I went to the bridge. They seemed calm.

you'd crawl into a fire to pull him out." I thought he nodded in assent. . "Captain." I shouted. The third engineer. "I'm sending him down." Muse went down. you ready?" I shouted. the navy snipers could've taken them out in about twenty minutes. "No." he said. the pirates pointing guns at him. no. "Captain. Cronan handed me a picture of his girls. and I was holding out hope that Captain Phillips was just going to do a quick loop and come back to the ladder. Part of being a sailor is you're married to the sea. The lifeboat was at the bottom of the pilot ladder. and Phillips. The lifeboat puttered away. I told the captain that once they had the boat ready. too. . That's why Mike Perry and I risked capture to bring our shipmates food and water. Sailors always get each other's backs. hoping your crewmates had a plan to get you out. One of the pirates kept his AK trained on Cronan. either. That was amazing. and you leave your loved ones at the dock." "No. the pirates drew down on him. even your worst enemy on the ship. "If I don't come back. John Cronan. Will Rios. "Okay. So your crew quickly becomes your second family. Cronan and Rios came up. three on three." He'd decided to go with Rios²to make sure nothing happened to him. "I'll jump in the water once all the pirates are off. But that's when it all went bad. the captain told me later. there wouldn't have been a four-day standoff. I was proud we didn't let them down. it looks good. The sun was setting. At the same time. "You come up when he goes down. got in first to make sure everything worked. maybe try to jump the pirates when they were even strength." Captain Phillips said. We didn't realize right away that they'd screwed us and snatched the captain. "now get on the ladder. "get on the ladder!" "I'm just going to show them how to drive the boat." he said. Cronan checked all the equipment and said." And then we dropped the lifeboat into the sea. "I'm not getting out. "I'm going down.in the lifeboat." I said again." the captain said. I couldn't imagine the horror of being trapped in that room. The door closed. the bosun. and I know they wouldn't have let me down. he should come up while Abduwali went down. But the distance between us and them kept opening up. Rios. A few of us started getting the lifeboat ready. they had no chance of overpowering them. "Yeah." I said." He just stood there looking up at us. It's a bond most people can't relate to. We'd kept the ambushed pirate. volunteered to help get the boat to the pirates. If they'd been in the rescue boat.$. "tell these girls I love them. on deck with us as insurance against them taking Captain Phillips hostage. and then." I told him to come back onto the ship. a kid named Abduwali Muse.

for a meeting. A fighter jet screamed in low²couldn't have been more than thirty feet off the water. He called on the radio and said the pirates would shut down if we'd shut down. We were in touch with a coalition ship steaming toward us." they'd say. "We have more mother ships coming. The U." I answered. 'Just throw down your weapons. The Somalis are holding hundreds of foreign sailors hostage. I figured the pirates were scared pretty badly. As daylight broke. that there are pirates mobilizing ships from the north and west. And then the phone on the bridge started to ring every five seconds: Al Jazeera.I ordered the !labama to follow them. CNN. °ainbridge. We had a searchlight locked on the lifeboat. I gathered everyone. We set course for Kenya with a navy security detail on board. "Tell them. . "Tell them they can come on board. It seems like this whole situation is just the pirates trying to test a new administration with a show of force. but all things considered. the crew were exhausted and nervous. and I was making the first command decisions of my career under the worst imaginable circumstances. even the navy sailors. and then we'd all wait until daylight to negotiate. arrived not long after. and they were forcing those crews to go out hunting fresh targets. We'll take you back to Somalia. And we're like the lab rats. Then I sprinted up to the bridge.S. ABC." I told everyone. when the night turned pure black. NBC. They were not going to give us back the captain. We chased the lifeboat for six hours before we heard from Captain Phillips. but they didn't slow down. "unconfirmed. It wasn't a regular combat team² more like the cooks and anyone else they could spare. targets started popping up on the radar.S. I realized I'd gotten a battlefield promotion." $% &/. But at least they had weapons. The navy would take care of Captain Phillips. it was the right decision. with a long way to go through troubled waters. "We have reports. to keep going to Mombasa. too. We'll give you food. I had to take care of the Alabama and her crew. and I radioed for them to send a plane to buzz the pirates. a possible man overboard²at that point we still thought it was possible that Captain Phillips had jumped from the boat²and the fire alarm had even gone off when a smoke buoy we'd deployed got hung up on the rail. At nine o'clock. A pirate attack. I didn't want to leave our captain. and the VHF chatter was full of Somali dialects and Eastern European accents. Katie Couric." The crew nodded.' " He radioed back: The pirates wouldn't do it. It seemed like every reporter in the world had to talk to us right then. The shipping company wanted us moving. The navy wanted us to get out of those waters. too. "We're coming. a guided-missile destroyer. almost all of them kids.

snipers on the fantail of the °ainbridge took out the three pirates on the lifeboat with simultaneous head shots. I was honored to help. He was also the commander of the last American vessel seized by pirates. I think. I still wonder if it was a coincidence that the captain was rescued on Easter Sunday. Abduwali Muse had gone onto the °ainbridge to negotiate for the pirates." I paused. and we shot off some celebratory flares. April 12. even if the broken-down Kenyan navy didn't come out to escort us like I'd asked.com/news-politics/big-issues/200912/shane-murphy-maersk-alabama- somali-pirates?currentPage=5#ixzz0quGkmqlu . Why are you guys at the dock? Why aren't you out patrolling for pirates? We waited in Mombasa for the standoff between the navy and the pirates to end. and he was a pirate-fighter." I said. 'Bama! Roll motherfuckin' tide. Whenever we dock there and see naval vessels. He was held captive for more than two years and vowed to exact revenge. I know there were a lot of people praying for us. "Look at the guy next to you.10 !!2 Mombasa with no more trouble. All we have is each other. The Kenyans got pissed and told us to knock it off."We've got twelve hours before we get through this hellish part. and I felt some higher power watching over us throughout everything. "This is it. Maybe William Bainbridge had something to do with it. but we ignored them. Far out at sea. He was the commodore the navy named the destroyer after. which saved his life: On the fourth day. Go. "We're making the run. off the coast of Tunisia in 1803. and anyone who doesn't want to help me do that. "I'm going to do everything I can to put this boat next to the dock. Captain Phillips was free." Everyone seemed ready." 0. Read More http://www. When that happened. get out of the way. Put your faith in him and he'll do the same for you. Seems like he finally got it.gq." I said. we started blasting "Sweet Home Alabama" through the loudspeakers.

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