“I was on a ship that got hit pirates in the Dominican Republic,” said Captain Kelly Sweeney. “The only thing that saved us was that we had two armed guards on board, and they got in a shoot out with them and repelled them.”
Last weekend marked the release of “Captain Phillips” starring Tom Hanks, a movie that recounts the very real pirate attack on the Maersk Alabama. Sweeney told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross, that what happened on the Alabama changed the protocol for pirate attacks, and it has since saved lives.
“After (the Maersk Alabama attack, officials) changed the regulations and armed guards, and/or armed crews are allowed. As a matter of fact the Maersk Alabama has been hit four times since they were hit in this particular situation. And each time after that the company paid for armed guards on board and they repelled the attack,” said Sweeney.
Sweeney said there is an old adage among mariners: Going to sea is 99 percent boredom and one percent sheer terror. “I think the movie hints at the 99 percent of boredom but it perfectly depicts the one percent of terror.”