Dramatic scenes as pirates invade Seaham

PIRATE DRAMA: A scene from the film made in Seaham warning of the impact on modern-day piracy.
PIRATE DRAMA: A scene from the film made in Seaham warning of the impact on modern-day piracy.
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A TERRIFYING hostage situation broke out as pirates seized control of a cargo ship and its crew at gunpoint.

But thankfully these scenes in Seaham Harbour were staged as part of a film to highlight the devastating effects of piracy.

Production company YourFilm was given permission by the owner of County Durham’s only port and the Arklow Spray cargo boat to shoot the feature, which will be premiered in Athens next month before an audience of industry experts.

The film is part of the Save Our Seafarers campaign and will be used to support the worldwide campaign which has been set up to support piracy victims and their families, especially those attacks launched in the Indian Ocean.

Matthew Newman, director of North East-based YourFilm, led the cast of 12 and six crew during their visit to the harbour.

He said: “It was extremely difficult to get any of the harbours to agree to let us film and Seaham was the only location which was sympathetic to the cause.

“The day went fantastically well, we got everything we needed to shoot, especially as it all came together at the last minute.”

The storyline, captured using the latest technology to create a ‘Hollywood style’ short action sequence, follows an incident where a ship is captured and hostages taken.

Hard-hitting, real-life interviews with victims of pirate attacks will also be included in the editing process.

Matthew added: “The high-profile British hijacking cases recently barely scrapes the surface of the problem.

“As we speak, more than 400 seafarers are being held hostage by armed gangs of Somali pirates.

“The conditions are appalling and these terrified individuals are subjected to physical and psychological abuse.

“We’re thrilled to have been chosen to create something impactful and informative for the campaign.

“Because of the concentration of the issue in the Indian Ocean, we want to ensure we do all we can to make our film as realistic as possible, and so we recruited a culturally diverse mix of individuals for the shoot, including Eastern European, Indian and Filipino actors and extras, as well as Somalis as well.”

Piracy is said to cost the global economy up to $112billion a year, with a total of 3,573 seafarers held hostage by armed gangs of Somali pirates between 2005 and last year.

Shipping firms, insurers, workers groups and unions, terminal operators and councils have been among those to support the project.{http:// www.saveourseafarers.com

{http://www.saveourseafarers.com|Click here|Click here for the Save Our Seafarers website} for information about the campaign.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham