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Treasure Coast Essay

A special lifeboat

Today is Veterans Day, a good time to talk about something special at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in St. Lucie County.  It’s a lifeboat.  Not just any lifeboat, but the lifeboat on which Richard Phillips, captain of the freighter Maersk Alabama, was held captive by Somali pirates in April 2009.  On the order of President Obama, Navy SEALS shot the pirates and rescued the captain.  Have you seen the new movie “Captain Phillips?”  It stars Tom Hanks as the captain.  The movie’s co-star is the orange, 28-foot, covered lifeboat – or a reasonable facsimile thereof.  In November 2011, a production crew from Sony Pictures visited the museum to photograph and take measurements of the craft.  Museum curator Ruth McSween told Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, “They wanted to make sure they were replicating the lifeboat exactly.”  Later, Sony telephoned the museum to ask where Captain Phillips sat in the lifeboat during his ordeal.   This past Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the museum hosted its annual muster.   At the 2009 muster, just seven months after he was rescued, Captain Phillips – the real Captain Phillips – was the featured speaker.  The museum is on Highway A-1-A on North Hutchinson Island.  It is open Tuesdays through Sundays.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.