"I share the country's admiration for the bravery of Captain Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew. His courage is a model for all Americans." -President Barack Obama
It was just another day on the job for fifty-three-year-old Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, a United States-flagged cargo ship that was carrying, among other things, food and agricultural materials for the World Food Program. That all changed when armed Somali pirates boarded the ship. The pirates didn't expect the crew to fight back, nor did they expect Captain Phillips to offer himself as a hostage in exchange for the safety of his crew. Thus began the tense five-day standoff, which ended in a daring high-seas rescue when U.S. Navy SEALs opened fire and picked off three of the captors.
"It never ends like this," Captain Phillips said.
And he's right.
A story of adventure and courage, A Captain's Duty provides the intimate details of this high-seas hostage-taking-the unbearable heat, the death threats, the mock executions, and the escape attempt. When the pirates boarded his ship, Captain Phillips put his experience into action, doing everything he could to safeguard his crew. And when he was held captive by the pirates, he marshaled all his resources to ensure his own survival, withstanding intense physical hardship and an escalating battle of wills with the pirates. This was it: the moment where training meets instinct and where character is everything. Richard Phillips was ready.
A Captain's Duty
I couldn't wait to hear the next chapter. Constantly suspense filled, inspiring, patriotic and well narrated. Captain Phillips' detailed recollection of a lengthy, complex and mentally demanding ordeal is commendable. This is a thriller.
It is rather disappointing that Phillips has gotten away with his BS story for so long. The remaining members of his crew have all come out publicly to condemn him for more than embellishing his account. They maintain that he was anything but heroic while his ship was boarded by Somali pirates. They also maintain that he did little to resist them from the beginning. What’s worse is that though he claims that he and his crew were aware of the possible dangers, he willfully put his crew in danger out of sheer arrogance. He was quoted as saying “I won’t let pirates scare me or force me to sail away from the coast.” He was provided with the SOP from the previous Captain yet refused to use it, because it wasn’t HIS plan. It mandates that, should pirates get too close, the crew should cut the lights and power and lock themselves below deck. His remaining crew have all sued Mearsk citing Phillips as the cause of the boarding and for depicting them lazy coffee guzzlers who fall back on the security of their union-protected employment. So, although the story he presents is an entertaining one, it is widely considered untrue by the industry. This was reported by the NYPost and many other media outlets.