Hollywood meets Grounds

November 1, 2013 by jzh3v@virginia.edu

How CIAG was involved in the “Captain Phillips” Saga.

John J. Flood spent more than two decades with the FBI in jobs that landed him in the middle of headline-grabbing global events.

The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. The Washington, D.C. sniper attacks. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The hijacking of the Maersk Alabama container ship off the coast of Somalia.

The latter incident – the subject of the popular “Captain Phillips” motion picture, starring Tom Hanks – occurred in 2009, when Flood was working as chief of the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit in Quantico. He’s now assistant director of the University of Virginia’s Office of Emergency Preparedness, a post he’s held since retiring from the FBI in July 2012.

During the Maersk Alabama drama, Flood managed the team of negotiators communicating directly and indirectly with the Somali pirates; the U.S. Navy command; family members of the Alabama’s captain, Richard Phillips; and the Navy SEALs.

The FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit provides exclusive negotiation expertise to the U.S. government in cases where Americans are abducted overseas.

The hostage situation exploded into the international spotlight several days before Easter in 2009 as news agencies reported the boarding of the unarmed cargo ship by a group of heavily armed young Somalis.

“I remember it vividly,” Flood said recently in his U.Va. office on Fontaine Avenue.

After watching television coverage with his colleagues in Quantico and conducting a mock exercise on how they might handle the situation, Flood went home for the day. It looked like a Navy job; he figured his team wouldn’t be dealing with these pirates.

Read More at UVA Today…