By Drew Griffin, CNN
The new Tom hanks movie is getting rave reviews, but also taking some heat. Captain Phillips tells the real-life story of the Maersk Alabama, a ship hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009.
The captain was taken hostage and later hailed as a hero. Now, some of the crew members are speaking out, saying the movie gets it all wrong.
As their captain was being lauded as a hero, the crew of the Maersk Alabama, watched and bit their tongues. No more.
"We vowed we were gonna take it to our grave. We weren't gonna say anything. Then we hear this PR stuff coming out about him giving himself up, and and he's still hostage and the whole crew is, like, what? 'Cause everybody's in shock," said Mike Perry, chief engineer on the Maersk Alabama.
Back in 2010, Perry told CNN he and most of the crew couldn't believe the story being painted about their captain, Captain Richard Phillips: that he had given himself up in exchange for the safety of his crew. Left out of the entire story, says Perry, is the captain's recklessness that steered the Maersk Alabama into pirate-infested waters.
According to the crew members, Captain Phillips, on a voyage from Oman to Mombassa, Kenya set a course to save money. That route would shorten the trip, and according to Third Engineer John Cronan, put the crew directly in pirate-infested waters.
"He was advised to change course by competent deck officers and he overruled them. Stay on course, make our ETA. Stay on the same course," said Cronan.
In a 2010 interview, Captain Richard Phillips told us he was not used to criticism. And when CNN confronted him with the e-mails and his crews concerns, he said it was the first time his judgment had been questioned.
Reporter: "Their complaint is that there were specific e-mails sent to your ship stressing the need to go further out to sea."
"Yes. And on something like that, we will deal that in the arena that they wish. And that's the court. That's what this is based on," said Captain Phillips.
Reporter: "Is it true?"
"Uh, there are, there are warnings put out by, I don't know what authorities he's talking about, he doesn't say," said Captain Phillips.
Reporter: "Well, I have the emails. You've seen the emails"
"I haven't seen the emails since I been on the ship," said Captain Phillips.
Reporter: "But you were warned to go further out to sea."
"Warned to stay clear of an area, yep," said Captain Phillips.
The captain is now a witness in a contentious lawsuit between some of the crew and the shipping company. In a deposition just last year, Captain Phillips admitted he did indeed receive the e-mail warnings. He also admits he kept the warnings to himself.
Asked by a plaintiff's attorney why he didn't move further offshore. Phillips testified, "I don't believe 600 miles would make you safe. I didn't believe 1,200 miles would make you safe."
Phillips told us much of the criticism is driven by "human nature" and by lawsuits filed by members of his crew. He also says the story itself was fueled by a press that wanted a hero, a captain who saved his crew, a good story and now a movie.
"The media got everything wrong. I don't know how to control this. When I'm in the lifeboat and the media is saying I gave myself up for them. In the book, if you read it, have you read it?" said Captain Phillips.
Reporter: "I did. I read it."
"So you know I didn't give myself up. I was already a hostage by then," said Captain Phillips.