Letter from M/V Maersk Alabama


#1

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<TABLE class=EC_MsoNormalTable cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style=“PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; PADDING-LEFT: 0in; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0in; PADDING-TOP: 0in” vAlign=top>[COLOR=navy]This is an email from one of the Engineers on the Maersk Alabama shortly after everything went down. The person referred to as Mike is the Chief Engineer. [/COLOR]
[COLOR=navy]Pretty interesting. [/COLOR]

M/V ALABAMA

Everyone on here is okay. We’re on our way to Mombasa with Navy
protection on board.Captain Phillips is still hostage in the lifeboat
with the 4 pirates.I hear they’re flying out reliefs for everyone,
but I’m not sure what all’s going to happen once we get to Mombasa. Supposedly the FBI is coming out to investigate the crime.Maybe we’ll
be on the next CSI Somalia.

I wanted to let you know some of the lessons we learned so you guys can
better prepare yourselves for something similar. The only guys actually
captured by the pirates were on the bridge: Capt, 3/M, and 2 AB’s.

I don’t really know why they stayed on the bridge until the pirates got
up there. Then they had keys to everything and were able to unlock
everyone’s rooms. The pirates got up to the bridge very quickly once
they were onboard. We had a locked cage door over the ladder well from
main deck, but it only took a second for them to shoot it off.They then
got to the bridge up the outside ladders. By that time we had taken
control of the engine and steering down below. Mike stayed in the ECR
and the C/M was out on deck tracking the pirates’ movement. We kept swinging the rudder side to side.The pirates’ boat capsized, though I’m
not sure exactly when or what caused it.After about 20 minutes the engine was killed,I don’t know by whom.At that point I shut off the air bottles
and Mike killed power. He was also able to get outside and trip the fuel
shutoff for the EDG.

I think this was critical.The pirates were very reluctant to go into the
dark.We will be looking at a way to shut off the EDG from the ECR in the
future. All the crew had been mustered and secured in the steering gear.
Our pirates didn’t have any grenades, so they would have never been able
to break in there. The previous day we had welded a padeye on the inside
of the hatch to the fantail so it was secured from the inside. The only
problem with the steering gear was the heat and the shortage of water.In
the future we will store food and water in various spots for emergency
usage.

I think we will also run a fresh water line into the steering gear. We
were able to make a run from the steering gear to the E/R water fountain
and fill up some empty oil sample bottles we had back there. The C/M was
also able to get some fruit and sodas from the galley and drop them down
the line standpipe. The pirates sent the 3/M unescorted to go look for
crewmembers, so he was able to get away. One of the pirates then went
with an AB down to the E/R to look for people.Mike was able to jump him
in the dark and we took him prisoner in the steering gear. No one else
came down into the E/R. As the day went on the pirates became desperate
to get out of there.There boat was sunk, and they couldn’t get our ship
moving.

The Captain talked them into taking the MOB boat. The three remaining
pirates went down in the MOB boat with Phillips. We were then able to
negotiate with them over the radio. We dropped some food, water and
diesel to them. We started getting the plant back on line.
Unfortunately, the MOB boat wouldn’t start. A couple of guys got in the
lifeboat and dropped it. They motored over and traded the lifeboat for
the MOB boat.We were supposed to exchange their guy for the Captain, but
they ended up keeping him.They motored off in the lifeboat. They had no
way of getting back aboard, so we followed them. The Navy showed up a
few hours later. We stayed close by for some time, but then the Navy
asked us to head out. I heard that several other pirate vessels were
heading our way and the Navy wanted us out of the way. That’s about it.
I’ll give you all the details some other time.

Just to reiterate the most important points:
Have a well fortified location with food and water supply.
Kill all the lights.
Leave the alarms going, the noise helped cover our movements through
the house. Flashlights and radios are very handy, as well as the
sound-powered phone.

Anyway,it was a pretty stressful situation.I have to say I am impressed
with how the entire crew responded. We didn’t have anybody who wanted to
give up. I’m pretty confident that Phillips will end up ok.They have to
know that if they kill him they’ll be done. I assume the company will be
forced into taking some kind of action to assure our security from now on.

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#2

Wow - good to finally hear the story from somebody who was actually there, and not “from a source.” Congratulations to these guys for some quick thinking that kept the situation under control and everybody safe.


#3

Excellent find! The best thing I’ve read on this thus far. Anyone know it’s source?


#4

I was wondering the same thing.


#5

I don’t think the source is anything more than the author of the email and the passing of it amongst friends and colleagues .

CNN did just get a hold of it


#6

Thanks for sharing the email with us. The crew member did a good job thinking on the spot. Now that the story is out, I bet the pirates are going to change thier game plan…