Saturday, January 11, 2014

Aye Aye Captain!

An office outing on a Thursday can make it seem like the weekend has come early. So we wound up watching Captain Phillips.

The movie is based on the true story of a Captain Phillips who was taken hostage when the first American cargo ship, in history, to be attacked by pirates, was hijacked. The movie tries to portray the relationship between Captain Phillips and the "captain" of the pirates, the ordeal that Captain Phillips underwent as a hostage and the rescue mission by the USS BainBridge.

What I wanted to capture here are the thoughts that arose in my head while and post watching the movie.

What caused ex-fishermen to become pirates?
There is a scene where "Muse", the leader of a pirates group is woken up because his bosses were arriving.  The bosses yell at the pirates to be at sea as that is where they can make money. And then you see many people willing to risk their lives to be chosen in the pirates crew so that they could make some money. So this shows that there are very limited options to earn a living in Somalia, which is one of the reasons why they resort to become pirates. It is seen as "easy money". Most of these people who resort to becoming pirates are ex-fishermen whose source of earning a living has been taken away. Post the Somali Civi War, the Somali government collapsed and ships of international corporations starting dumping toxic waste into the Somali waters. This causes death of the aquatic life and in most cases, there is no chance of revival. Therefore the fishermen are left without a means of livelihood.

Yes, I used to think that money was the root cause of all evil but not anymore. Human greed for wealth and power are the root cause of all evil.

Could the USA have done better?
And then you see the USS Bainbridge coming to rescue Captain Phillips but under huge pressures from the government. One gets to see the huge infrastructure put into place by the US Navy to prevent pirate hijackings. It is no small feat, with the navy, airforce, healthcare specialists and SEAL marksmen, to name a few, being involved. Would the situation have been different if the United States had spent the money that it had spent on building this anti-hijacking squad on creating jobs in Somalia for these forlorn fishermen?

Well, may be they are doing something else about it, but these are my thoughts after watching the movie. The movie is a must watch and it is always a pleasure to watch Tom Hanks.