ONLY AT THE MOVIES! October 24 CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. It is — through…
The crew of the Tampa received the Nansen Refugee Award for 2002 from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for their involvement in the events. Captain Arne Rinnan was also named captain of the year by the shipping newspaper Lloyds List and Nautical Institute in London
Captain Rinnan received the highest civil honour in Norway as a result of his handling of this difficult incident. Rinnan has been a sailor since 1958, and a captain for 23 years. He said of the incident: “I have seen most of what there is to see in this profession, but what I experienced on this trip is the worst. When we asked for food and medicine for the refugees, the Australians sent commando troops on board. This created a very high tension among the refugees.
They were eventually joined by hundreds of other asylum seekers, under Australia’s “Pacific Solution”. Approximately 150 people were diverted to New Zealand, where they were subsequently granted asylum and progress to citizenship. In 2004, following the war in Afghanistan and invasion of Iraq, the New Zealand government began to reunite their families
Many were suffering from dehydration,exhaustion and minor ailments including sixty one cases of scabies, forty six of head lice twenty four of gastroenteritis. They also attended to four pregnant women. Captain Rinnan anchored approximately 4 nautical miles from Christmas Island. The refugees from the Tampa were loaded onto a Royal Australian Navy vessel, HMAS Manoora, which transported them to the small island country of Nauru, where most were held in two detention camps,State House and Topside
Later disputed by Australian authorities. The Australian government provided medical assistance and food, but still refused permission for the ship to enter Australian territorial waters. The Australian government sent military personnel to Christmas Island, ostensibly to be ready to provide this assistance to the ship. The SASR doctor later reported that the rescuees were generally dehydrated, malnourished and unhappy.
As the ship approached the boundary of Australia’s territorial waters (12 nautical miles (22 km) from the island), Captain Arne Rinnan pleaded for permission for the ship to dock at Christmas Island. He would have been well aware that there are no port or docking facilities for shipping at Christmas Island. He reported that several of the asylum seekers were unconscious, and others were suffering from dysentery, statements subsequently supported by the SASR physician.
Australia threatened Kinnan with prosecution; faced with Australia’s threats of prosecution, Captain Arne Rinnan agreed to turn slowly back towards Indonesia in the hope that the asylum seekers would not notice. About half an hour into the turn, however, they did notice and again became agitated. Captain Rinnan, concerned that if the ship continued to sail to Indonesia the asylum seekers could jump overboard or riot and harm the crew, decided to head back towards Christmas Island
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer explained to parliament that “It is important that people understand that Australia has no obligation under International law to accept the rescued persons in to Australian territory.
The Australian government denied any obligation under international law as Christmas Island lies within a zone designated as Indonesia’s responsibility for rescue according to an agreement made in 1990 between Australia and Indonesia. Indonesia had also accepted coordination of the rescue, and the closest suitable port was Merak in Indonesia.
The ship requested the Australian government’s permission to unload the asylum seekers at Christmas Island, arguing that the ship could not sail to Indonesia, because it was unseaworthy. The ship was not designed for 438 people, only its 27 crew; and there were no lifeboats or other safety equipment available for the asylum seekers in the case of an emergency.
During that time a delegation of five asylum seekers visited the bridge to demand passage to Australian territory, specifically Christmas Island, or any western country. The group was quite aggressive and agitated and Rinnan agreed to alter course for Christmas Island.
Captain Arne Rinnan quoted : When we arrived it was obvious to us that it was coming apart. Several of the refugees were obviously in a bad state and collapsed when they came on deck to us. 10 to 12 of them were unconscious, several had dysenteria and a pregnant woman suffered abdominal pains.
During the rescue, Rinnan received a call from Jakarta advising him to disembark the passengers at the ferry port of Merak, Indonesia.
About half an hour after the Tampa had set sail toward Indonesia.
“Please note that Indonesian search and rescue authorities have accepted co-ordination of this incident.”
The Tampa reached the vessel, guided by Australian Coastwatch de Havilland Dash-8, at about 2 pm. The first child was lifted to safety at 2:30pm and the rescue operation continued all afternoon.
Australian Authorities tried in several different ways to contact Indonesian Authorities in regards. Captain Arne Rinnan of the MV Tampa responded to the mayday call: “We are on a voyage from Fremantle to Singapore via Sunda Strait… We have changed course and are headed for position of distress… Please advise further course of action. A Rinnan, Master.” After an hour of setting course for the vessel, Rinnan received a direction from RCC apparently attempting to disown the rescue operation.
According to international law, survivors of a shipwreck are to be taken to the closest suitable port for medical treatment. The closest suitable port was 12 hours away in Merak, Indonesia. Christmas Island was six or seven hours closer however it did not have the capability of receiving large shipping freighters
On the bridge that day you heard Australian broadcast : at 12:48 Canberra time: “Subject: Distress Relay. A 35-metre Indonesian type vessel with 80 plus persons on board adrift in the vicinity of 09.32.5 south 104.44 east… vessel has SOS and HELP written on the roof. Vessels within 10 hours report best ETA and intentions to this station” That position puts them in the Indian Ocean some 2000km from the North West Coast of Western Australia and 500km south of Jakarta.
I’m sorry but I have to set you straight. In August of 2001 the “Howard Government” of “Australia” refused permission for the Norwegian Freighter MV Tampa carrying 438 rescued refugees ( predominately Hazaras of Afganistan from a distressed fishing vessel in international waters) to enter Australian waters. At dawn August 24th 2001 a fishing vessel the Palapa 1 became distressed, with 369 men 26 woman & 43 children made the mayday call.
The Captain was given a warning to keep the Alabama far away from the location from where the ship was when the pirates boarded the ship and he chose not to do it.So it could have been avoided and this movie Captain Phillips would not even been made.I hope Tom Hanks knows he played the role of a Captain that is one that this merchant seaman(myself) is glad that I never had to sail with this idiot.
I am a retired seaman and worked as an able-seaman on several Maersk Container ships that were crewed by U.S merchant seaman .I am a member of the Seafarers International Union and shipped out of the Wilmington CA. Union Hall.I was one of the many American merchant seaman that auditioned for role in this movie and was told by the Casting Agency that sailors from the UK were being used .The Maersk Alabama crew were S.I.U American Seaman it is an insult to all U.S merchant seaman.
About time to see a movie about a Crime that’s on the increase all over our sea’s.
the Australian Prime Minister (former John Howard) Orders to Hijack a ship called the ‘Tamper’ from Norway.
In short . The tamper run into a clan of ship wrecks. over a 5 day period of aid to the distress and Rescue.Then Tamper was boarded SWAT gun point Capt. and crew Arrested-and at gun point forced to break maritime law!
Norway-”Tamper’ crew, we are sorry.Your crew deserved much better, and the Right.
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